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Full text of "The Life of Carsten Niebuhr, the Oriental Traveller"

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ALDERMAN './'ir'XRY 
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CI^ARk's list or NSW publications XDIKBURGH, 38 OXOROB STRUT. 

HFo the Clerg^y, Masters of dramiiiar 

(ieliools. Tutors of Theological 

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Edikburoh, 38, Gkorgb Strxbt. 
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msoiixs' EBXTXOir of 

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CLABK's I.IST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS, EDINBURGH. 



Pindar. 

THE WORKS OF PINDAR, with various Readings, Notes and 
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accompanied with fifty paees of English noteB"—Scot8man. 

" To facilitate the introduction of this great peet into our scholastic curriculum has 
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many places it is improyed beyond that of former editions. The punctuation— and 
this IS no small mattef'-<4s also entitled to the highest praise, and the notes are more 
substantial than showy. It is our hope, therefore, that we shall soon see the Theban 
poet introduced into our schools, and that our youth will ere long be as well ac- 
quainted with his * moral dignity' as with the gay licentiousness of Anacreon.*' 

l-^/SMAireJetiriMrf. 



Xenoplioii's Anabasis. 

XENOPHON*S EXPEDITION OF CYRUS, in Seven Books; with 

various Readings, Notes and Index. By Alexander Negris. 

48. sewed ; 4s. 6d. bound in cloth. 

*.* The Text and various Readings may he had separately t 
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** Mr. Negris is already advantageously known by his edition of Herodotus, and his 
very curious little volume of Greek Proverbs. Of nis present production, we can say 
that it fully maintains his reputation. He has selected the best text, and his notes 
are useful and instructive."— X>i««rary Gazette. 

" Of the edition of Xenophon before us, we need only say that it is another contri- 
bution to Greek literature from the pen of Mr. Negiis; and that which this learned 
scholar formerly did so well for Herodotw and Pindar has now been accomplished 
for the Anabasis. The plan pursued in bringing forward all of these works is the 
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sake of reference. Nothing more seems to be required m order to render the book 
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that the edition will soon make its way into our schools, and even into our universi- 
ties. "-JSJoenrnj- Post. 



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** This work seems well fitted to throw light on those pecnliaxities of idiom which 
-^istioguiAh the New Testament writers from the classical^authors."— F^e Journal. 



«LA.HKS £,IST OV NBW PUBLICATIONS, EDINBQBGH. 
€^R££K AMD Romas lilTJBRATURi:. 



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The History of Herodotus of HalleamaMiu* 

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Alkicander Negris. 2 toIs. foolscap 8to. price 12s. bd. in doth. 
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uid also RXCKRDT?roLT coRRSCT.'*— Ofiorfer/y Journal ofSdueaHon, 

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much service to the author whom he has pablished. 

** The volume* are n^t'y f»n4 aecuratthf jwlnisd."— C«i«. Mag» 

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CLARK*S LIST OF KEW PUBLICXAlTIOVS— 38. OEOROE {tTREET. 

Ecclesiastical laaw* 

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ant and edifying lesson for both England and Irslano, in case the Poor Laws are 
introduced into the latter country ."—AfontU^ Review. , 

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of Poor Laws in England. The treatise throughout is distinguished by sound, compre- 
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high quarter from which it comes, might have Jed us to expect."— La«o Journal, No. XI. 

Law of Aliment* 

The LAW and PRACTICE in ACTIONS of ALIMENT competent to the 
Local Courts of Scotland. By J. M'Glashan, Soh'citor-at-Law. 121110.9 ^'- 

CONTENTS. 
I. Of Claims of Aliment in General. IX. How far Children have a Claim of 



II. Action of Aliment at a Wife's in- 
stance against her Husband. 

III. Action at instance of a third party 

for Furnishings to a Wife. 

IV. How far a Wif&s CUim of Aliment 

is sustained against Husband's Cre- 
ditors. 
V. Wife's Claim of Aliment against 
Husband's Representatives. 
VI. Claim of Aliment by a Wife 
against her Father-in* Law. 

VII. Action of Aliment at instance of 
Children against their Parents. 

'^III. Action of Aliment at instance of 
a third party who makes Furnish- 
ings to a Child against the Parent. 



Aliment against Father's Creditors. 
X. Claim of Aliment by Lawful Chil- 
dren against their Father's Re- 
presentatives. 
XI. Action for Aliment of a Bastard. 
XII. Action for Custody of a Bastard. 

XIII. How far Parents have a Claim of 

Compensation for Advances and 
of Aliment against their Children. 

XIV. Claim of Aliment by the Heir 
against a Liferenter. 

XV. Claim of Aliment by a Pauper 
against the Parish. 
XVI. Chum of Prisoners for Debt to Ali- 
ment from their incarcerators. 
XVII. Competitions regarding. Alimentary 



STUDENTS' 



CABINET LIBRARY 



USEFUL TRACTS. 



VOL. III. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SERI 




EDINBURGH: 

THOMAS CLARK, 38, GEORGE STREET. 
MDCCCXXXVI. 



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AC 
\ 

201214 

V. 3 

/?o.|/t 



JAM£S BURKEt, PKINlEB, 23, EAST THISTLE STREET. 



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CONTENTS OF VOLUME III. 

BIOGRAPHICAL SERIES, VOL. L 



The paging of the TahU of Contents refers to the numerctOon at the 
foot of the pages. 



XIII LIFE OF NIEBUHR. 

CBiographical Series, No, L) 



Introduction, S. Seientific Expedition to Arabia in 1760, S. Bio- 
graphical Sketch of the Author of this life, 4. Birth of Nie- 
buhr, 9. His limited education in youth, 10. He remoyes to 
Hamburgh to study mathematics, II. At Gottingen in 1767, 12. 
Character of Count Bemstorf, 13. Arabian Expedition, 14. 
Arrangements of the Expedition by Michaelis, 15. Niebuhr's 
preparatory Studies, 16. His companions — Von Haven, 18 — For- 
skaal, 19. Niebuhr's Employments during the Voyage, 21. 
Attention paid to the travellers at Marseilles and Malta, 23. 
Arrival in Egypt — Visit to Mount Sinai, 24. Embark at 
Suez, and reach Loheia in the close of 1762, 25. Travel over 
Yemen — Mocha — Death of Forskaal, 25. Embark for Bombay 
— Death of Cramer, 26. Reception at Bombay, 28. Return 
over land — Ruins of Persepolis, 30. Bassora — Bagdad — Alep- 
po, 31. Society at Aleppo — Visit to Cyprus and Palestine, 82. 
Arrival at Constantinople, 33. Reception in Poland by Stanis- 
laus Poniatowsky, 34. Return to Copenhagen, 34. Expences 
of the Expedition, 35. Results of the Expedition, 36. Astro- 
nomical Observations, 38. Publication of the Description of 
Arabia, 40. Embassy of Abderrachman Aga, from Tripoli, 41. 
Information gained from him by Niebuhr on the Geography of 
Tripoli and Barbary, &c., 42. His marriage, 43. Publication 

of his Travels, 44 of Forskaal's works, 44. Appointed Land- 

^cAreiJer at Meldorf, 46. Pecuniary misfortunes, 47. Acquaint- 
ance with Boie, 48. Contributions to the Deutsche Museum, 49. 
Education of his children, 50. Baptold Niebuhr, 52. Niebuhr's 
opinion of Bruce, 53. Correspondence with Dr. Russell and 

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IV CONTENTS OF VOL. III. 

Migor Rennell, 55 with Baron Silvestre De Sacy, 55. Destruc- 
tion of the Plates of his Travels, 57. Proposal to publish the 3d 
Volume of his Travels in England — ^his refusal, 58. Chosen a 
member of the French Institute, 59. His loss of sight, 61. 
Death, April 26, 1815, 65. Personal habits, 66. Michaelis' 
Account of the Arabian expedition, extracted from his ** Lehens- 
beschreihung" 69. 



XIV^—LIFE OF KANT. 

(BiograpJiical Series, No. II.) 

Introductory remarks, 81. Additional remarks, 84. Birth of 
Kant in 1724, 89. Descent and character of his parents, 90. 
Education, 91. Want of a philosophy which would consolidate 
and connect the great mass of human sciences, 92. Insufficiency 
of Locke's system, 92. Contrast between the strict scientific 
form which logical science so early put on, and the uncertain pro- 
gress of other philosophy, 94. Identity of the principles of logi- 
cal science, and the primordial laws which ontology prescribes to 
nature, 95. Review of the sceptical arguments of Hume on 
cause and effect, 96. Reid's remarks on the subject, 97. 
Kant's theory of causality, 98. Not founded on experience, 98. 
Imperfection of Hume's views, 99. The idea of causality ema- 
nates from the mind of the beholder himself, 101. This view 
extended to the other absolute conceptions of the mind, 103. 
New light which this view throws on the method of metaphysical 
' inquiry, 104. Right of Kant to be considered the author of 
these views, 106. Limits of human knowledge, 108. Analysis 
of Kant's principal works : — I. Critic of Pure Reason, 109. 
Faculties of knowledge, 110. Space and time. 111. Categories 
of the understanding. 111. Forms of reason — ^notion of the ab- 
solute, 112. — II. Prolegomena to all Metaphysics, 115 III. 

Critic of Practical Reason, 115. — IV. Critic of Judgment, 
117 V. Religion in accordance with Reason, 119 VI. Meta- 
physical principle of Law, 122. Essay on Peace — on Anthropo- 
logy, 123. Miscellaneous works of Kant, 125. Events of the 
Life of Kant, 127. His character, 128. Occupations of his lat- 
ter years, 129. Different opinions on the result of his analysis of 
the human Mind, 131. 



XV LIFE OF MADAME DE STAEL. 

(Biographical Series, No. III.) 

Parentage, 135. Birth, 136. Early occupations, 137. Educa- 
tion, 139. Early taste for composition, 140. Her intercourse 
with her father, 142. Influence of her moth^|gdl^sul$®Jlta''ly 



CONTENTS OF VOL. III. V 

productions, 145. Her appearance in Paris, 146. Marriage to 
the Baron de Stael, 151. Exile of M. Necker— his return, 153. 
Revolution, 164. Her escape from Paris, 165. Her attachment 
to a limited monarchy, 157. Visits England with IVarbonne and 
Talleyrand, 168. Returns to Paris — her exertions in favour of 
the emigrants, 159. Death of Madame Necker, 160. ** Essays 
on the Passions," 160. Death of the Baron de Stael, 161. 
*' Essay on Literature, considered in its relations with the Social 
Institutions," 161. Her opinion of Bonaparte, 162. Her inter- 
course with Bonaparte, 163. Her exilft to Coppet — ^publication 
of «* Delphine," 166. Visit to Germany, 168. Correspondence 
with her father, 169. Death of M. Necker, 171. Publication 
of his MSS. by his daughter, 173. Visit to Italy, 174. PubU- 
cation of Corinna, 176. Madame de Stael is again banished from 
France, 176. Completion of her work on Germany, 178. 
Seizi^re of " Germany" by the Imperial police, 179. Confined 
to Coppet — Removal of M. Schlegel, 180. Visitors to Coppet 
. — are proscribed, 182. Visit of M. Montmorency and Madame 
Recamier — ^they are banished from France, 182. Private mar- 
riage of Madame de Stael with M. de Rocca, 184. She is re- 
fused permission to go to Italy, 186. She escapes from Coppet, 
188. Passage through Austria, 190. Through Poland and 
Russia, 192. Through Finland and Sweden, 193. Arrival in 
England, 194. Publication of her work on Germany, 194. Ex- 
tracts from Byron's letters regarding Madame de Stael, 196. 
Her return to Paris at the Restoration, 200. Return of Bona- 
parte, 200. Madame de Stael retires to Coppet, 201. Abdica- 
tion of Napoleon, 202. Madame de Stael returns to Paris, 203. 
Progress of her work on the French Revolution, 205. Her 
death, 207. Death of M. de Rocca, 207. List of works re- 
ferred to, 210. 



XXI LIFE OF LADY RUSSELL. 

(Biographical Series, No. IV.) 

Her birth — Character and life of her father, 215. His death, 
217. Lady Rachel Wriothesley's first marriage with Lord 
Vaughan, 217. Death of Lord Vaughan in 1667, 219. Mar- 
riage to Lord Russell in 1669, 220. Letters to her husband, 
221 — 226. Lord Russell moves the House of Commons to 
resolve itself into a Committee to consider the succession to 
the Crown, 227. Letters from Lady Russell to her husband, 
227 — 241. Lord Russell joins in the measures taken by Par- 
liament to exclude James from the succession, 242. Arrested, 
with others, on suspicion of plotting against the life of the 
Duke of York, 243. Execution of Sidney — IJeath of Lord 
Essex— his supposed murder, 244. Triaf of ^Lord Russell— 



1 COr^TENTS OF VOL. III. 

his condemnation, 246. Exertions to procure his pardon — 
Lady Russell's interview with Charles II., 248—252. Offer of 
Lord Cavendish to rescue him, 253. Conduct of Lord Russell 
during the period of condemnation, 254. His execution, 258. 
Substance of the paper he delivered to the Sheriffs, 259. Lady 
Russell's letter to Charles II. vindicating her husband's memory, 
261. Correspondence between Lady Russell — Dr. Fitzwilliam — 
Dr. Burnet— Eari of Bedford, 263—275. Accession of James II. 
--^Execution of the Duke of Monmouth, 276. M. de Rouvigny's 
exertiohs for the removal of Lord Russell's attainder from his 
children, 278. Revocation of Edict of Nantz — Settlement of 
M. de Rouvigny in England, 281. Communications with Dr. 
Fitzwilliam, 282 — 284. Marriage of her eldest daughter to the 
son of Lord Cavendish, 286. Revolution of 1688, 287. Letter 
of the Princess of Orange to Lady Russell, 288. Reversal of 
Lord Russell's attainder, 290. Favour of William and Mary for 
Lady Russell, 291. Marriage of her youngest daughter to the 
son of the Earl of Rutland, 296. Marriage of her son to Miss 
Howland, 298. His succession to the Earldom of Bedford, 300. 
Letter to her son, 300. Death of the Dutchess of Rutland, 306. 
Extracts from Lady Russell's papers, 308. Her death, 310. 



ERRATA. 
Page 106, line 12, for " subjunctive," read ** subjective." 



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LIFE ,.^,,., 






CARSTEN NIEBUHR, 

THE ORIENTAL TRAVELLER. 






Bv HIS Son, B. G. NIEBUHR. 



ITH AN APPENDIX BY J. D. MICHAELIS. 



TranBlated from the German by Prof. Robinson. 



EDINBURGH : 

THOMAS CLARK, 38, GEORGE STREET. 
MDCCCXXXVI. 

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JAUCS BITENET, PRINTER, i>, SHAKSPEARE SQUARE. 



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LIFE 



CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 



INTRODUCTION. 



No event in the literary world has had a more direct 
and important bearing upon the study of the Bible, and 
the branches of learning connected with it, than the sci- 
entific expedition sent out by the King of Denmark to 
Arabia and the adjacent countries, in 1760. Viewing 
the subject in this light, I have thought that an account 
of the origin and progress of that expedition, would not 
only form an article appropriate to the character and ob- 
ject of this work, but would also afford much useful and 
interesting information to the student of bibUcal litera- 
ture, and to readers in general. For this purpose, no- 
thing seemed so well adapted as the following biography 
of Niebuhr, the distinguished traveller, written by his no 
less distinguished son, the historian of Rome. 

Out of the five persons, of whom the expedition was 
originally composed, Niebuhr was the only survivor. Of 
his qualifications as a scientific traveller, and of the man- 
ner in which he executed the task assigned him, it is not 
now necessary to speak. Time, which tries all things, 
has tried him fully ; and has stamped upon his work the 

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4 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

seal of truth, modesty, and completeness. Seventy years 
have now elapsed, and still no traveller returns from the 
East, who does not bear testimony to the accuracy and 
fulness of his descriptions ; who does not indeed regard 
his work as still the best guide-book for those who visit 
the same regions. The generation of men with whom 
he had to do, have indeed passed away ; but the manners 
and customs of the people, and above all the aspects and 
character both of the civil and physical geography of the 
East, remain unchanged. Revolutions like those of 
Europe, which affect the private life and manners of the 
people, as well as the external appearance of countries 
and the political relations of states, are there almost un- 
known ; and hence the descriptions of Niebuhr are at 
the present day, for the most part, as minutely accurate, 
as at the time when they were written. In the strong 
and apothegmatic language of the celebrated Johannes 
von Miiller, it may be truly said of Niebuhr : " What a 
name among travellers! the man who tells nothing which 
he did not see ; and what he saw, saw as it is ! " * 

Of the writer of the following article, it is here neces- 
sary strictly to say little, in addition to the occasional 
notices of his early life, which are scattered through the 
article itself. But as very little is known in this country 
of his career, the following outline of his life may not be 
unacceptable. He first studied (1793) at the university 
of Kiel, resided afterwards (1795) a year and a half at 
Edinburgh, and travelled for six months more in England. 
His professional studies were jurisprudence and finance ; 
his taste led him more to history. He was employed at 
Copenhagen in the service of the Danish government, 
and was for a time one of the directors of the Bank. In 
1 806, in consequence of his talents for finance, he was 
invited to enter into the service of Prussia, and was em- 
ployed in the ministry. While the French had posses- 
sion of Berlin, he followed the court to Konigsberg and 

* ** Welcher Name unter den Reisenden ! des Mannes, der 
nichts sagt, waa er nicht 8ah, and was er ss^, sah wie es ist ! " 
J. von Miiller, Vorrede zu Persepolis, Herder's Werke, zur Phi- 
loe. u. Gesch. Th. I. p. 11. 

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INTRODUCTION. 5 

Memel, and resided for a time at Riga. After the re- 
establishment of tranquillity at Berlin, the foundation of 
the new university drew his attention again more directly 
to his favourite studies ; and at the urgent request of his 
friends he commenced, at the opening of the university 
in 1810, his first course of lectures on Roman History. 
Encouraged by the distinguished favour with which these 
lectures were received, not only by the students, but by 
the learned and intelligent of all classes ; and living in 
daily and intimate intercourse with scholars like Butt- 
-mann, Spalding, Heindorf, and Von Savigny ; he was 
led to expand this course into his great work, the History 
of ancient Rome, of which the first and second volumes 
appeared in 1811 and 1812. 

He was twice sent as ambassador to Holland, first in 
1808, and again in 1814. In 1816, he was sent by the 
king of Prussia as ambassador extraordinary and minister 
plenipotentiary to Rome. It is understood that the ap- 
pointment was given to him with the special view, that 
the historian of Rome might have opportunity to pursue 
his studies in the midst of the * eternal' city. That a 
sojourn among the scenes which he was engaged in des- 
cribing, should exert a strong influence upon his critical 
judgment ; that in examining the localities around him, 
very much would present itself to him under a new and 
more striking aspect ; was not only to be expected, but 
has been realized to the public, in the subsequent edi- 
tions of his great work. His very entrance into Italy 
was signalized by one of the most important literary dis- 
coveries of modern times, that of the lost Institutes of 
Grains in the cathedral library at Verona. At Rome, 
besides his official duties and the studies connected with 
his historical works, he employed his leisure moments in 
examining the manuscripts of the Vatican : the result of 
which he gave to the public in 1 820, in his collection of 
unpublished Fragments of Cicero and Livy. The re- 
moval of Angelo Mai to the Vatican, prevented his pro- 
ceeding further in this course ; though he took the live- 
liest interest in the publication of Cicero's Republic, dis- 
covered by the latter. As a scholar and diplomatist he 

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b LIFE OF CARSTEN NIBBUHR. 

lived with dignity and enjoyed the highest respect ; 
while his house was the resort of the learned men and 
artists of all countries, who congregate at Rome. 

On his return to Germany in 1823, he remained six 
weeks at St. Gall in Switzerland, in order to examine the 
manuscripts in that celebrated library. His labours were 
only rewarded by the discovery of some remains of the 
later Roman poetry, in the works of Merobaudes. His 
journey terminated somewhat unexpectedly at the newly 
established university of Bonn, where, during the winter 
of 1823-24, he occupied himself in preparations for the 
third volume of his History. Here he at length fixed 
his residence. The consciousness of the disproportion 
between the first two volumes of his history, printed 
twelve years before, and the riper progress of his subse- 
quent researches, became now so vivid, that he resolved 
to rewrite them. At the same time he took up again 
the long abandoned calling of a public lecturer, — ^not .as 
a professor of the university, but in connection with his 
privilege as member of the Prussian Academy of Scien- 
ces at Berlin. His lectures on Roman History and An- 
tiquities, on Greek History, on the History of the an- 
cient and modern World, and on ancient Geography and 
Statistics, riveted the attention of his numerous audQtors, 
by the richness of the materials, profoundness of investi- 
gation, and the freshness and vividness of the views. 
The remodeling of the early volumes of his History, be- 
came rather a new creation. The first volume appeared 
in 1827, and a third edition of it in 1828. The second 
volume, in its new dress, appeared only a few months 
before his death. The preparations for the third volume, 
which was to complete his plan, were already made, and 
the manuscript of the first sheets ready for the press, 
when a fire in the night destroyed the upper story of his 
house, and with it this manuscript. Seven weeks after 
this calamity, however, the destroyed manuscript was re- 
placed, and the printing commenced. It is understood 
that the preparations for this volume are ii^uch a state, 
that we may hope for the completion of the work, in the 
same style and spirit, from one of his surviving friends. 
6 

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INTRODUCTION. 7 

Another important enterprise which he instigated, and 
of which he undertook the superintendence, was a new 
edition of the Byzantine llistorians. He himself led the 
way by a critical revisiGn of the work of Agathias. Of 
this great collection, eight or ten volumes had appeared 
before his death ; and the work is to be continued under 
the patronage of the Berlin Academy of Sciences. 

After seven years of restless literary activity at Bonn, 
Niebuhr was seized with an inflammatory fever on Christ- 
mas day 1830, and died January 2, 1831. His second 
wife survived him only twelve days.* 

The biographical sketch from which the following arti- 
cle is translated, was first published in 18l6.f This 
should every where be borne in mind while reading it ; 
and especially in those passages where Niebuhr is spoken 
of as so pre-eminent in comparison with all oth^r oriental 
travellers. This pre-eminence is still justly his due ; but 
at that time Burckhardt was not known as a traveller. 
The same traits of character which have stamped a value 
upon the works of the former, belong perhaps in an equal 
degree to the latter; the same talent and eagerness for 
observation ; the same modesty and caution in respect to 
what they had not seen or experienced themselves. But 
their circumstances and objects were widely different. 
Niebuhr travelled for science, and accomplished the ob- 
ject for which he was sent; while all that Burckhardt 
effected was only preparatory to his grand object, the ex- 
ploring of the interior of Africa. The former took ac- 
curate surveys and made definite inquiries; the latter 
turned his attention more to the manners and habits of 
the people, and could make only general observations on 
other subjects. Niebuhr prepared his works himself, in 

* For most of the preceding notices, the Translator is indebted 
to an artide in the AUgemeine Literatur- Zeitunff for March ltt31, 
Intelliffenzblatt, No. 14. 

f It first appeared in the Kieler Blatter, and was afterwards pub- 
lished separately. At a later period it was revised by the author, 
and inserted in the collection of his smaller treatises published un> 
der the title : Kleine historische und phUologische Sckriften von 
B. G, Niebuhr. Erste Sammlung. Bonn^ 1828. 

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8 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

the midst of literary leisure, and with the aid of learned 
men and all the necessary books of reference, by which 
to correct or modify the impressions of his own experi- 
ence. Burckhardt wrote out his journals as he could 
seize time, in Syria and Egypt, without the aid of learn- 
ed men or books ; he transmitted them to England, and 
never lived to revise them ; and they were published by 
other hands after his decease. It is this circumstance of 
leisure preparation, probably, which gives to the works of 
Niebuhr their character of entire accuracy. In this re- 
spect, the recent Travels of Riippell, which are only 
sketches and almost wholly of a scientific character, would 
not perhaps suffer on a comparison. The results of the 
journey of Ehrenberg and Hemprich, who were sent out 
to Egypt and the adjacent countries by the king of Prus- 
sia in 1820, have not yet been sufficiently given to the 
public, to judge of their comparative value. 

It will be perceived that the following sketch speaks of 
Niebuhr only in a literary and scientific point of view. 
His religious character is left entirely out of sight ; ex- 
cept in one short paragraph near the close, where his 
firm belief in the special interpositions of Providence is 
mentioned. We have no means of supplying this defi- 
ciency, except so far as his faith in miracles is attested^ 
in his remarks on the passage of the Israelites through 
the Red Sea ; where he regards the circumstances as the 
" work of Providence, as a miracle ;" and affirms, that if 
they were all produced by mere natural causes and were 
not miraculous, then he ^^ does not know what learned 
men understand by the word miracle."* — Of the religi- 
ous views of the, younger Niebuhr, we have no know- 
ledge whatever. 

In order to give a full and complete view of the origin 
and progress of the celebrated expedition to Arabia, I 
have subjoined in an appendix the account of it by J. D. 
MichaeUs, by whom the enterprise was originally sug- 
gested. This is indeed no more than an act of justice to 
Michaelis; as the reader will perceive in the sequeL 

* Description of Arabia, p. 417, Germ. ed. 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 



The appendix is chiefly drawn from his Autobiography, 
written near the close of his life, and published by Has- 
sencamp after his decease. — Translator. 



LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

Hadeln is a Friesland province adjacent to the mouth 
of the Elbe, and belonged formerly, under its ancient 
name Hadelre, to the seventh of the United Provinces 
of the Low Countries. After the dissolution of the great 
Frisian confederation, the country lost its republican 
freedom ; fell, after various fortunes, under the dominion 
of the dukes of Saxe-Lauenbourg, and with this duke- 
dom, under the sovereignty of Hanover. 

The country consists of marsh land, with the excep- 
tion of three parishes of moor. The peasants are, as is 
common in Friesland, absolute proprietors; every one 
owns his farm with the most perfect rfght of property, 
lives on it, and takes care of it himself. Until their sub- 
jection to the French, the administration was free in the 
hands of mj^strates, chosen by the common people ; 
and it is not to be doubted, that the Hanoverian govern- 
ment has also in this point restored the good old order 
of things; not forgetting that, after the annihilation of 
foreign usurpation, nations have the same right to claim 
their former constitutional liberties, as princes the sove- 
reignty. The taxes also were light, and the peasantry 
enjoyed an uncommon degree of prosperity. 

In this country, among this free people, as a free pea- 
sant, Carsten Niebuhr was bom, March 17th, 1733, in 
Westerende Liidingworth, on the farm of his father. 
This latter and his ancestors, from the grandfather of his 
great-grandfather, — our information does not reach higher 
— ^inhabited as peasants their own farms ; all of them in 
good circumstances, without belonging to the wealthy. 

Carsten Ni6buhr lost his mother before he was six 
weeks old ; and having been brought up by hand, with- 
out the milk of a nurse, his extraordinary streiigth and 
vigour may contribute to remove the appreliensions of 

9 

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10 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

those, who are unable to obtain other nourishment for an 
in&nt. He grew up under the care of a step-mother, in 
the house of his father, where his mode of lining and oc- 
cupations, as well as his education, were distinguished by- 
nothing from those of other peasant boys. Probably it 
was his own longing for information, that occasioned his 
father to send him to^ the Latin school in Otterndorf, 
and somewhat later to that of Altenbruch ; merely how- 
ever in' order that he might acquire a little more know- 
ledge than an ordinary farmer. But the dismissal of the 
schoolmaster in Altenbruch, and the prejudices of his 
guardian, (for his father had died meanwhile,) put an 
early end to his studies, even before he was far enough 
advanced to experience any profit from this first begin- 
ning, when he afterwards commenced his literary career 
anew. 

At the partition of the paternal inheritance among the 
orphan children, there fell to his share only a trifling 
sum, insufficient to purchase any landed property ; and 
thus necessity would have compelled him to acquire 
some degree of knowledge as a means of existence, even 
if he had been able by his nature to live without mental 
occupation and cultivation. But he was obliged to be 
satisfied with those acquirements, which could be made 
without the instruction of any regular school. He there- 
fore devoted himself to music, and learned in the course 
of a year to play on several instruments for the purpose 
of getting a place as an organist. But these employ- 
ments also did not meet the approbation of his guardians. 
His uncle, by his mother's side, took him into his house, 
and here he lived again four years exclusively as a farmer. 

But the farther he advanced in life, the less could he 
bear that emptiness of mind, from which people of this 
condition can only be reUeved, either as in ancient times, 
by common consultation on the afiBurs of the parish, or, 
as is the case with the English farmer, by acquiring gene- 
ral information through reading. He felt an internal 
impulse to occupy himself and to become useful to the 
world. 

The accidental circumstances, which very often decide 
10 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 11 

the course of life of distinguished men, deserve -to be 
kept in remembrance. Those indeed were entirely acci- 
dental) which gave to my father the direction he after- 
wards followed without any interruption, until he became 
the first among the travellers of modern times. A law- 
suit in regard to the superficial contents of a farm, could 
only be decided by a geometrical survey; and there 
being no surveyor in all the country of Hadeln, one had 
to be called from another place. Niebuhr had a high 
degree of ancestral feeling for the honour of his province ; 
and this occurrence seemed to him a reproach upon it ; 
he could fulfil a duty towards his country, by devoting 
himself to this science ; and at the same time, he was 
glad to see before himself a vocation and object of pur- 
suit for life. Meanwhile he had arrived at full age ; and 
hearing that he could obtain in Bremen regular instruc- 
tion in practical geometry, he went thither. This, plan, 
however, did not succeed. The professor on whom he 
had depended, was dead. He would not have declined 
the instruction of an inferior practical surveyor ; but this 
man wished to take him as a boarder in his house ; and 
the young countryman, diffident, bashful, and of the se- 
verest principles as he was, found the obliging manners 
of the two sisters of his intended teacher so questionable, 
that he left Bremen on the spot. He now set his face 
towards Hamburgh ; but here he had to experience a 
new disappointment and another trial of his perseverance. 
He had already passed his twenty-second year, when he 
came to Hamburgti in order to profit by the mathemati-* 
cal lessons of Succow, and, without being ashamed of his 
advanced age, to begin anew his school studies. His in- 
come was not sufficient to support him, even in the very 
frugal way of living which was natural to him. He was, 
however, decided to use so much of his little fortune, as 
should be necessary for the accomplishment of his pur- 
pose. In the summer of the year 1 755, we find him in 
Hamburgh. This we learn by his letters to his intelli- 
gent, and at that time only friend, the President Beym- 
graben, which are still preserved with veneration by the 
family of the latter. 

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12 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

But Succow had just been called to Jena, and the ma- 
thematical professorship remained vacant for some time, 
before it was again filled by the deceased Biisch. The 
other lessons in the gymnasium could only be made in- 
telligible and profitable by the most studious diligence, 
and through private instruction. A countryman of Nie- 
buhr, by the name of Witke, who lived at that time as a 
candidate of theology in Hamburgh, and died afterwards 
as pastor in Otterndorf, gave him faithfully and in the 
most friendly manner this private instruction ; and he it 
Was, whom my father always regarded as the author of 
his mental culture, and loved and revered, as such, all his 
life, with a feeling of pious gratitude. 

Eight months were entirely devoted to preparatory 
studies, (he being still almost unacquainted with the La- 
tin language,) before he could become a student in the 
gymnasium ; and twelve months more were wholly insuf- 
ficient, notwithstanding all his exertions and his perfect 
health of body and mind, to acquire what every youth, 
more favoured by circumstances, carries with him to the 
university without difficulty. For this reason, among 
other things, he never learned Greek, which was always 
a subject of great regret to him. 

Under Biisch he began to study mathematics. The 
oldest and at the same time the most distinguished pupil of 
this learned man, he became afterwards his intimate 
friend, and remained so all his hfe. 

To stop in the middle of his course was entirely con- 
trary to his nature. He had gone to Hamburgh only for 
the sake of geometry and some auxiliary studies ; but 
the more the sciences became familiar to him, the less he 
could be satisfied, without becoming acquainted with 
them to a greater extent and depth. He went, there- 
fore, at Easter 1757> to Gottingen. Mathematics con- 
tinued to be his principal study. The diminution of his 
small fortune obliged him, however, more and more to 
think of procuring a place ; and to arrange accordingly 
the objects of his studies. He expected to find such a 
situation in the corps of engineers in the service of Han- 
over ; where at that time, as in almost all the German 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 13 

armies, officers of deep mathematical knowledge were 
very rare, and could therefore hope, in some measure, to 
be masters of their own fortunes by their merits. 

He studied with all the firmness, which is the conse- 
quence of a decided, simple, and modest plan of life, for 
more than a year, without being disturbed or distracted 
by the events of the sevfen years' war ; during which 
Gottingen was frequently in the power of different ar- 
mies. About this time it occurred to him, that there ex- 
isted in his family a stipend for those members of it, who 
should become students. He asked his friend to exa- 
mine, whether it was founded only for poor students, or 
without this restriction, " in order to afford the means of 
learning something useful? Only in this case would he 
permit himself, to apply for it." He obtained it, and 
employed it to provide himself with mathematical instru- 
ments. 

Frederic V. reigned at that time in Denmark in envied 
peace. The memory of Lewis XIV. shone still untar-* 
nished in all the false light of his glory ; and it was after 
this definite model, that the ministers of the Danish 
monarch endeavoured to induce their master to perform 
the duties of his station ; still, however, as a peaceful 
king. There has seldom existed a minister, whose inten- 
tions were more blameless, than those of the Baron J. 
H. E. Bernstorf, the elder of the two successive minis- 
ters of this name ; and there was perhaps no one among 
the continental statesmen of his time, who equalled him 
in knowledge, genius, and generosity. Nevertheless, his- 
tory will probably hereafter decide, as many of his con- 
temporaries in the very country which he so ardently 
wished to raise and embellish, justly felt, (though their 
feeling was mixed and infected with, personal prejudices,) 
that his system of administration was not the true one for 
Denmark. If it could not be denied, that the nation had 
been sinking for a century, yet it was not difficult to per- 
ceive, that this was the natural result of foreign forms, 
obtruded upon the country, and an internal suffocation of 
the genius and spirit of the people ; perfectly analogous 
to the process, by which the Jesuitical contra- reformers 

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14 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

have morally destroyed the Bohemians; and that, to re- 
medy the evil as far as possible, both the peasants and 
the cities must be politically relieved, and aided in a pe- 
culiar manner. The extraordinary and beneficent great- 
ness of the second Count Bernstorf, on the contrary, will, 
even after all the misfortunes of a dreadful period, be re- 
membered by a grateful nation, not alone with melancho- 
ly feelings ; for some of his creations are not to be des- 
troyed, and are the only foundation for a happier futu- 
rity ; and the whole of nis administration is an endearing 
model. As the most shining merits of his uncle, perhaps 
will be reckoned hereafter, the emancipation of the pea- 
sants, the leisure of Klopstock, and the scientific expedi- 
tion to Arabia. 

This latter was indeed originally occasioned by Mi- 
chaelis, who had represented to the Danish minister, that 
many illustrations for the philology of the Old Testament 
might be gained by actual observation and by information 
coUected in Arabia ; since this country was to be consi- 
dered as yet unexplored by European travellers. His 
original idea was limited to the mission of a single learn- 
ed man, an oriental philologian of his own school, by way 
of India to Yemen ; an undertaking which would have 
resulted in nothing, even if the envoy had returned. For- 
tunately the minister himself perceived this, and proposed 
of his own accord to make the expedition far more ex- 
tensive. And thus it happened, that the original project 
at least so far as it regards the questions with which the 
primary author of the plan furnished the travellers, sunk 
to a very trifling and subordinate matter ; while the im- 
portant results which were produced by the two persons 
to whom alone the glory of the expedition belonged, were 
not at all contemplated or intended by him. 

It seems that the first proposition was made to the 
Baron Bernstorf as early as a. d. 1756. This latter, hav- 
ing accepted it with air the vivacity and* liberality of his 
mind, and having authorised Michaelis to propose to him 
a philologian ; who is there, that would not have expect- 
ed this learned man to have named the person, who 
among all his contemporaries had no rival in the renown 

14 Digitized by ^^lUUy It: 



LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 15 

of Arabian philology ; who, as was known to all Germany, 
was, in a literal sense, struggling with hunger, and who 
moreover was a school acquaintance of Michaelis, — Reiske? 
Instead of him, he recommended one of his pupils. Von 
Haven, whose knowledge at that time must have been 
little more than that of a schoolboy ; since, after spending 
two years in Rome, in the Vatican and among the Maro- 
nites, in farther preparation, he never rose above the 
deepest mediocrity. 

Michaelis was commissioned by Bemstorf to propose 
also a mathematician and a natural philosopher ; by the 
addition of whom this minister fortunately gave value and 
importance to the mission. To name the first, Michaelis 
addressed himself in the Academy of Sciences at Got- 
tingen, of which he was then director, to Kastner. A 
student from Hanover, named Bolzing, accepted the 
proposal at first, but withdrew again after some time from 
timidity. Kastner would undoubtedly have chosen, from 
the first, not Bolzing, but my father, had the latter then 
been long enough at the university to enable his instruc- 
tor to foresee, with some certainty, the degree of skilful- 
ness which a young man would acquire, whose general 
character and talents alone could then be perceived. 
Fortunately Kastner ,was now sufficiently acquainted 
with him, as his pupil. One day in the summer of 1758, 
(we do not find a nearer designation of the time,) he 
entered the room of my father, as he was going home 
from the sitting of the Academy, where he had just pro- 
posed him. " Would you like to travel to Arabia?*' 
" Why not, if some one defrayed the expense ? ** an- 
swered my father, who was bound by nothing to his 
home, and who was urged onward by an unlimited desire 
of knowledge to visit distant climes. " The expense,*' 
replied KSstner, " will be borne by the king of Den- 
mark.** He expldned himself farther on the subject and 
how the offer was occasioned. Niebuhr was decided on 
the spot, so fsLT as his own inclination was concerned. 
As he thought however very humble of himself, and very 
highly of the sciences and of truly learned men, he des- 
paired of his capacity and usefulness. But KSstner set 

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16 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

hi3 mind at rest about it, by promising him a long term 
for preparation, especially for the study of astronomy 
under Mayer; and by assuring him, that with his strength 
of mind, and his diligence, this would be perfectly suf- 
ficient. 

The same evening my father went to see Professor 
Mayer, the promise of whose instruction in astronomy 
was the only thing still wanting to fix his resolution. 
Mayer, who was not so light-minded as Kastner, dissuad- 
ed the young man from a plan, the dangers and difficul- 
ties of which he did not know ; but his character made 
it irrevocable. Mayer therefore prom'ised him the in- 
struction he asked for. 

Michaelis, to whom he presented himself the following 
day, seems to have taken this quick decision for levity 
and inconsideration. He forced upon him the term of a 
week, the better to reflect upon it. The week passed 
away, without my father's troubhng himself any more 
about a thing, which was already decided in his own 
mind ; and Michaelis now accepted his declaration. His 
conditions were eighteen months for preparation, (until 
Easter 1760,) and during this time the same salary that 
was granted to Von Haven. Baron Bernstorf consented 
to them without hesitation. 

From that time he lived entirely for his destination. 
He continued the study of pure mathematics, perfected 
himself in drawing, and endeavoured to acquire as much 
historical knowledge, as he could with his imperfect pre- 
liminary studies, without leaving his main purpose too 
much out of view. He also exercised himself in practi- 
cal mechanics, that he might learn to handle his instru- 
ments ; and also in all those points of mechanical skill, 
the acquirement and practice of which would be a waste 
of time for every one in Europe, who does not make 
them his business. But he was principally occupied with 
two courses of private lessons, viz. in the Arabic language 
with Michaelis, and in astronomy with Mayer. Of these he 
preserved a very different remembrance. He had indeed 
little talent and little inclination for the grammatical part 
of languages ; but what made him ilverse to the instruction 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 17 

in Arabic, was the circumstance, that after several months, 
his teacher had carried him no farther than the first fables 
of Lokman. He thus acquired the conviction, that the 
professor by no means possessed any special treasure of 
Arabic knowledge and philology. He therefore gave up 
this study, and this step Michaelis never forgave him. 

Mayer was, without comparison, the first among the 
German astronomers and mathematicians of his time. 
His zeal to instruct Niebuhr was equal to that of his pu- 
pil to get instruction. Among all the men, whom this 
latter had known in the course of his long life, he loved 
and revered no one so highly, as Mayer ; an intimate 
friendship arose between them. He preserved a pas- 
sionate attachment for the memory of Mayer, even to 
his latest old age ; and of all that Providence bestowed 
upon him, nothing made him more happy, than that his 
first lunar observations for ascertaining the longitude, 
reached his beloved teacher on his deathbed, before his 
consciousness had left him, and by the joy which th^y 
excited in him, revived his spirits anew ; and that these 
very observations had determined the adjudication of the 
English prize to Mayer's widow. Indeed he ever ac- 
knowledged, that he owed to Mayer all his qualifications 
for his calling. The latter also had no warmer wish, than 
himself to educate a pupil who should be willing to em- 
ploy his method of finding the longitude, and his lunar 
tables, at that time still unprinted, and of which Niebuhr 
took a copy. It seems he foresaw, that prejudice and 
the common propensity to follow the ordinary courses 
of life, would for many years affect to disdain the adop- 
tion of his great discovery ; but that, if confirmed by 
practical application, it was impossible to smother it 
entirely. 

He took as lively an interest in my father's equipment 
for his journey, as if it had been his own business. For 
instance, he graduated his quadrant with his own hand ; 
and the exactitude of this work of friendship is proved by 
the observations taken with it. 

The time granted for preparation was protracted for 
half a year. It was not before the autumn of 1760 that 

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18 LIFE OP CARSTEN NIEBUHR- 

my father left Gottingen. In Copenhagen he was re- 
ceived by the minister Von Bernstorf with the utmost 
benevolence, and acquired his confidence above all the 
other travellers whom he found already collected there. 
Having received a pension for his preparation from the 
king, he had thought it his duty to provide himself with 
the instruments for observation at his own expense. He 
even felt himself happy, to get them in that way. Bern- 
storf, who learned it only accidentally, obliged him to 
accept an indemnification : and, out of respect for such 
strictness of principle, placed the money for the journey 
in his hands and at his disposal. 

I should scarcely mention, that at this time he was 
made lieutenant of the corps of engineers, if there was 
not still preserved one of his letters which exhibits his 
modesty and views of those things in a very amiable 
light. He writes to the friend above mentioned: " Von 
Haven's appointment as professor in the university of 
Copenhagen, occasioned him to think also of a title for 
himself. The same had been offered to him ; but he 
did not think himself worthy of it. That for which he 
had asked, seemed to him more appropriate for him. 
He might have had the place of captain, had he asked for 
it ; but this would have been too much for so young a 
man. To make observations of some importance as a 
lieutenant, would do him honour ; but to be called pro- 
fessor, without having investigated the depths of mathe- 
matics sufficiently, would be shameful to him." — At that 
time he had no other plan, but after his return from the 
journey to live in his own province, on the pension which 
was promised him. 

We cannot here have any scruples to publish what he 
thought and said of his travelling companions, more than 
half a century after their death. 

We have mentioned already Von Haven's unfitness in 
respect to knowledge of the language. But in general 
also, he had chosen a vocation for which nobody was less 
adapted. His only thought was of returning ; his fa- 
vourite conversation, the comfortable times which he ex- 
pected in that case to enjoy ; no desire of discoveries or 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 19 

observations made him forget the troubles and depriva- 
tions of the journey ; and nobody felt himself so desti- 
tute and deprived of so many things as he. A luxurious 
table and good wine were for him the highest charms of 
life ; and in Arabia, where the travellers found only bad 
water, and food scarcely sufficient to appease their hun- 
ger, his dissatisfaction rose to a despair which frequently 
amused his two more considerate companions; but some- 
times also was revolting to them. Lazy by nature, he 
found himself in that hemisphere perfectly excused from 
doing any thing; he moreover shewed himself sometimes 
haughty and assuming towards Niebuhr and Forskaal ; 
he considered himself as the first and the chief of the 
^ company ; and never could get over it, that my father 
should have charge of the money concerns. Nor, since 
his death, has there been found the least thing of value 
in his meagre diaries. 

Forskaal was, according to the judgment and testimony 
of my father, by far the most learned among all his tra- 
velling companions ; nay, he would perhaps, if he had 
returned, have occupied the first place among the scholars 
of his time, by the deep universality of his genius and 
knowledge. He had originally studied theology ; his 
free and aspiring mind had led him from Sweden to Ger- 
matiy ; for a long time he was passionately devoted to 
speculative metaphysics ; besides this, he was occupied in 
the study of the oriental languages ; and whilst he made 
himself familiar with all the branches of natural philoso- 
phy, he acquired a knowledge of physics and chemistry 
in all their extent, so far as it reached at that period. 
TTie metaphysics of a genius of such a cast, must have 
been very different from the scholastic wisdom of those 
times. The academical dissertation, in which he ex- 
plained his views on these subjects, was considered in 
Gottingen as fanciful, in Sweden as heretical. It is to 
be regretted that we are not acquainted with it* 

He was glad to leave his native country, where he 
every where met with hostility after his return from the 
university. He needed no preparation ; the call for the 
journey found him perfectly equipped, to such an extent 

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20 LITE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

as few have ever been. In love of labour, in contempt 
of dangers, troubles, and deprivations of every kind, he 
was equal to my father. Both of them found themselves 
called to observe every thing which occurred to themv 
But Forskaall's learned education afforded him great ad- 
vantages. He acquired the language in a much shorter 
time and in a more perfect manner, and was soon far 
enough advanced to read Arabic books with facility* 
^is faults were a passion for disputation, capriciousness, 
and anger. Mutual esteem, and the same zeal for their 
purpose, laid the foundation of a pure friendship between 
my father and him ; but their relation to each other was 
not without disturbance, until Forskaal had once experi- 
enced that the patience of his companion was not wholly ' 
imperturbable. — A careful use has been made of ForskaalV 
papers by his friend ; and whatever they contained relat- 
ing to history and national character and manners, is 
received into his works, and marked with the name of the 
author. I shall speak hereafter of the publication oC 
Forskaal's writings on natural history. It is painful to 
see how they are neglected. Besides the scientific des- 
criptions, they are rich, not only in valuable observations 
on the life, and the various applications of plants, and in 
the specification of their names in the languages of the 
different countries, but also in regard to information on 
the agriculture and geological structure especially of 
Egypt ; to such a degree, indeed, as is nowhere else to 
be found. The deceased Vahl recovered and restored 
Forskaal's long neglected herbariums, so far as they could 
still be saved ; and endeavoured to do justice to his me- 
mory. Linnaeus exhibited towards his former pupil an 
odious hostility. Forskaal had said to my father, that he 
should like to have a species of plant which he had dis- 
covered, (entered in his Flora under the name Mimosel" 
la,) named after himself. My father wrote to Linnaeus 
this wish of a deceased scholar and distinguished man ; 
but instead of regarding it, the latter gave the name 
of Forskaal to another plant, discovered it is true by 
him, but where the designation given to the principal 
species permitted an odious allusion to the deceas- 

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UFE OF CARSTEN NIBBUHR. 21 

«d. * This conduct my father could never forgive. Fors- 
kaal had also named a genus of plants after my father, who 
kad always assisted him in his excursions and collections ; 
but this seemed to the latter inappropriate, inasmuch as he 
was no botanist. It is assuredly the only instance of un- 
faithfulness which he allowed himself towards the papers 
of his friend, that he has removed from them every trace 
of the honour thus intended to be shewn him. 

Of the physician. Dr. Cramer, nothing can be said, 
but that he was most unfortunately selected, and was en- 
tirely without capacity, both as a physician and still more 
for all the direct objects of the journey. It is to be re- 
gretted, that the wish of Michaelis to engage the elder 
Hensler, could not have been realized. — Bauemfeind, the 
painter, was not unskilled in drawing ; but he was a man 
of an uncultivated and very narrow mind, and a propen- 
^ty to intemperance shortened his life. 

The voyage commenced under the most unfavourable 
auspices. The company embarked on board the ship of 
war Greenland, which was despatched to the Mediter- 
ranean in order to protect vessels sailing under the Da- 
nish flag, from being subjected to search by the £nglbh« 
This ship left the sound, Jan. 7th, 1761 ; three times she 
was driven back by contrary winds into the road of £lsi- 
aeur ; and it was only on ihe fourth trial, on the 10th of 
March, that she could pursue her course without inter- 
ruption to the Mediterranean. In all probability, such 
obstacles would not, at the present day, be of sufficient 
magnitude thus to hinder a ship of war on its voyage. 
But at that time the art of navigation was a thing wholly 
practical, almost mechanical, and very clumsily managed. 
Yet the officers of this ship were assuredly distinguished 
among their contemporaries ; and the comparative excel- 
lency of the Danish mariner has been the same in every 
century^ 

Niebiihr remembered this voyage with pleasure. Tha 
stately and dignified character of the ship itself, and o 

* The explanation of this allusion may foe seen in Rees's Cydo- 
fiaedia, under the article Forshalea, — Tr. 

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22 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBLHB, 

the discipline and whole mode of living on hoard a man- 
of war, — ^the simple and systematic activity and efficiency 
of the seamen, whose characteristic traits, from the com- 
mander down to the common sailor, were so similar to 
his own, — ^interested and gratified him in a high degree* 
Nor did he find the time monotonous ; he made himself 
practically and by personal observation acquainted with 
the construction of the ship and the art of steering 
it ; he exercised himself daily in taking celestial obser- 
vd^tions. This procured him the satisfaction of being ac- 
knowledged by the officers, as an active and useful mem- 
ber of their little community, In this way he acquired 
their decided respect and good will ; for the attainment 
of which, among practical men, it is always necessary to 
appear to them superior to themselves in some one branch 
of their own pursuits, as well as ever ready to acknow- 
ledge and appreciate their superiority in other kindred 
branches. 

Mayer, in his course of instruction, had ever kept in 
view the circumstance, that his pupil was about to be 
placed in a situation, where he would have to depend ex- 
clusively upon himself, without being sustained by the 
advice or assistance of any other person. Besides this, 
that great man had ever been himself his own teacher ; 
and was conscious, how well an active and clear-sighted 
considerateness enables its possessor to find his own way. 
Hjs whole practical instruction consisted in causing my 
father — after having sufficiently explained to him the ob- 
ject and nature of the observation and of the instrument 
— to try by himself how far he could succeed both in the 
observation and the calculation of it, without the guid- 
ance or even the presence of his friend and teacher. 
Did he not fully succeed, he was to inform Mayer; but 
he himself must discover, both how far he had been suc- 
cessful, and where the difficulty lay ; and then Mayer 
helped him out. While in Gottingen, he had little op- 
portunity of calculating lunar distances ; and was there- 
fore anxious how he should succeed in it. The results 
of the calculations from his observations during this voyage» 
gave him more confidence ; and should indeed have af- 
22 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 23 

forded him entire certainty, that he had now passed the 
years of pupilage. This, however, his diffidence pre- 
vented. 

A stay of a few weeks at Marseilles, and a shorter one 
at Malta, afforded a very pleasing recreation to the tra- 
vellers. Their scientific enterprise had become known 
far and wide in Europe ; and it is difficult, at this day, 
fully to conceive of that general interest and sympathy, 
which every where procured for the travellers the kind- 
est reception and the most respectful attentions. It was 
an enterprise which accorded with the spirit of the age, 
and had in it nothing isolated or strange. The king of 
Sardinia had sent the unfortunate Donati to the East : 
Asia had become known and interesting to Europeans, 
through the wars which the two great naval powers had 
waged against each other in India, and the kingdoms which 
they had alternately conquered there ; England had be- 
gun to cause the world to be circumnavigated for the 
sake of discovery. It was just that period of gratified 
and self-complacent contentment in respect to science 
and literature, when the age supposed itself to have found 
and to be pursuing the path of uninterrupted approxima- 
tion towards perfection in both. Learned men had now 
assumed a higher rank in society ; and every one was 
ashamed not to regard their concerns as the first among 
the affairs of men. 

The politeness of French courtesy exhibited itself in a 
very pleasing manner in both places ; for even in Malta, 
the predominant class of society, sdthough more or less 
mixed up out of all nations, was yet chiefly composed of 
French, who gave the tone to social intercourse, and 
united all the rest in the use of their language and man- 
ners. At Malta the chief attention was directed towards 
Niebuhr ; and the knights of the order of St. John, to 
whom the island belonged, influenced by the false sup- 
position that the difficulties arising out of his religion 
might be overcome, offered him on condition of his join- 
ing them after the completion of his travels, all of the 
lionours, distinctions, and privileges, to which the broad- 

23 

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24 LIFE OP CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

est and most pliant exposition of their laws could enisle 
liim to attain. 

From Malta the travellers proceeded to the Darda- 
nelles on board the same ship of war ; it having convey- 
ed its convoy as far as Smyrna. In the Archipelago my 
father was attacked by the dysentery, which brought him 
near the grave. At Constantinople his health returned, 
though very slowly ; so that at the end of two months 
from the commencement of the attack, he was only so 
far recovered, as to be able, with evident hazard of re- 
lapse, to embark for Alexandria on board of a ship froia 
Dulcigno. Here, on ship board, the travellers found 
themselves for the first time wholly among Orientald. 
The plague also broke out among the crowded mess of 
oriental passengers ; but the Europeans all remained ex- 
empt. 

In Egypt the travellers remained a full year; from 
the end of September 1761 till the beginnii^ of October 
1 762. During this interval, my father with Forskaal and 
Von Haven visited Mount Sinai. The party did not 
travel in Egypt, any higher up than Caira. My feth^r 
determined, during their sojourn, the longitude of Alex- - 
andria, Cairo, Rosetta, and Damietta, by numerous lunar 
observations; and with an exactness^ which, to the asto- 
nishment of the French astronomers in Bonaparte's ex- 
pedition, proved to be fully equal to their own. Equally 
accurate ^so did they and the anny find his chart of the 
two arms of th« Nile ; and likewise his plan of Cairo> 
which was sketched under the most difficult circumstan- 
ces, in the midst of a fanatical rabble. I showed this 
plan in the year 1801 to a French officer, who had risen 
during the revolution from the station of a common sol- 
dier, and had served during the Egyptian expedition as 
an adjutant of Bonaparte, in order to obtain from him 
some information respecting the entrenchments thrown 
up by the French army around the city, and also some 
historical notices relative to the great insurrection in 
Cairo* This officer was hardly able to write, and was 
entirely unaccustomed to make use of plans ; he thece;^ 
fore needed a few minutes' time before he could transfer 
24 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 25 

his local and ocalar knowledge of the city into the sym- 
bolical representation of the drawing ; but so soon as this 
was done, he found himself step by step at home, and 
could not repress his astonishment— My father also took 
the altitude of the pyramids, and copied many hierogly- 
phic inscriptions on obelisks and sarcophs^. 

In October the travellers embarked at Suez on board 
of a Turkish ship ; they landed at Djidda (Jidda), and 
reached at Loheia the first point of their proper destina- 
tion, the land of Yemen, in the last days of the year 
1762. During this voyage my father made astronomical 
observations, as often as possible, to determine the geo- 
graphy ; and examined, so far as he could, the waters of 
the Red Sea nautically. From these difficult and most 
tedious labours he was able to sketch the chart of the 
Red Sea ; which, considering the circumstances and the 
helps, must be regarded as a master-piece. 

After some stay in this friendly city, the company, and 
more especially Forskaal and Niebuhr, travelled over the 
western part of Yemen in various directions ; the former 
for botanical purposes, and the latter in order to deter- 
mine the geographical positions of the various places. 
They afterwards oetook themselves along the sea coast 
to Mocha ; where Von Haven died towards the end of 
May 1763. About the same time, my father was again 
attiicked by the dysentery ; but was saved by prudent 
foresight and the greatest temperance. His healtn, how- 
ever, was not fully restored, when after much delay and 
many hinderances the party were enabled to set off for 
Sana, the capital of Yemen. He did not, however, suf- 
fer the dai^er to prevent him from accompanying them. 
The climate, and the vexations which Forskaal had part- 
ly occasioned and partly augmented by his capricious- 
ness, brought upon the latter a bilious disorder, of which 
he died at Yerim, July 11, 1763. 

The pain which my father felt at the loss of his friend, 
preyed the more deeply upon his spirits, because he felt 
himself to be continually ill. He pursued with his two 
remaining companions the journey to Sand, but without 
any hope of returning ; and — ^what troubled him far more> 

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26 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIBBUHR. 

since he had never felt any overweaning love of life-^ap- 
prehensive lest all the papers relative to the expedition, 
which had not been left in the hands of English friends 
in Mocha, might not by any care or foresight be preserv- 
ed for Europe. He was filled with despondency at the 
thought of a total frustration of the objects of the jour- 
ney, and also, not without good reason, at the idea that 
the public would not do justice to the manner in which 
he and Forskaal had endeavoured to fulfil their duties. 
This is the only period in all his travels, when he gave 
way to melancholy, and sunk under it. He felt himself, 
at last, in that state of gloomy resignation, which usually 
comes upon Europeans in torrid regions, when labouring 
under grief and sickness. Although both before and after- 
wards, he was ever ready, on the mere rumour of an in- 
scription or ruin, to undertake the most difficult excur- 
sions ; yet now he neglected to turn a short distance out 
of the way, in order to copy the Hamyaric inscriptions 
at Hoddafa, — a neglect which every person who regards 
the circumstances, will consider trivial ; but one with 
which Niebuhr, even after the lapse of fifty years, was 
accustomed bitterly to reproach himself* 

From the same cause, the surviving members of the 
expedition declined the friendly and sincere invitation, 
to remain a full year in San4 and Upper Yemen ; which 
certainly would have been in entire accordance with the 
original plan. They hastened rather to descend again to 
the coast, before the English ships should have depart- 
ed ; and they made too great haste. They were conse- 
quently compelled to remain at Mocha through the whole 
of August and longer, before the ship in which they 
were to proceed to Bombay was ready. But Mocha, a 
city without water, in the arid sandy desert of Tehama, 
is a dreadful place of residence during the summer ; and 
a few days only elapsed, before the surviving travellers, 
with their servant, were all attacked by the fever of this 
elimate. 

Bauernfeind and the servant died at sea. Cramer 
reached Bombay, remained ill several months, and died. 
My father was saved by extreme abstinence ; which in- 
26 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBllHB. 27 

deed is sufficient to render this liot climate as little inju- 
rious to the European, as to the native. The physiciai^ 
had prescribed to him, on account of the dysentery, to 
abstain from all animal food, and .to live only on bread 
and a kind of rice tea, or ptisan. Under this regimen 
his disorder disappeared. After several weeks, the phy- 
sician learned with astonishment-, that Niebuhr still pa^- 
tiently continued the same diet ; with which indeed few 
Europeans were inclined to purchase even their lives, in. 
the midst of fatal disease.* 

Francis Scott, the merchant who had charge of the 
ship in which my father sailed from Mocha to Bombay, 

• The following are the remarks of Niebuhr himself, respecting 
the death of his companions and the causes which led to this melan- 
choly catastrophe, as well as to his own repeated sickness. They 
are here translated from the preface to the German edition of his 
Description of Arabia, p. ix. — Tn. 

" Although our little company was almost wholly destroyed by 
death, yet I do not think that others ought to be deterred, on this 
account, from travelling in Arabia. It would be an error to sup- 
pose, that my companions were hurried off by contagious diseases, 
because they died so rapidly one after another. I am much more 
of the opinion, that our diseases were our own fault ; and conse- 
quently that others may .easily guard against them. Our company 
was too large to submit readily, at first, to live according to the cus- 
toms of the country. At different times we could obtain no fer- 
mented or strong liquors, to which we were regularly accustomed ; " 
and yet we continued constantly to eat meat, which is regarded in 
all warm countries as very unhealthy. The cold evening air was so 
pleasant to us after the hot days, that we exposed ourselves to it 
too much. We ought also to have been more attentive to the very 
perceptible difference of temperature, between the mountainous re- 
gions and the lower plains. We hastened our journey too rapidly, 
in order to become acquainted with the interior of the country. We 
had difficult roads, and much trouble with the inhabitants ; some- 
times perhaps because we were not sufficiently acquainted with the 
country and its inhabitants, and often supposed unjustly that we had 
ground of complaint against them, without recollecting that one 
does not always travel with pleasure even in Europe. While my 
companions yet lived, I was myself several times very ill ; because 
like them I chose to live in the European manner. But after I 
was surrounded only by Orientals, and learned how strictly one 
must take care of himself in those regions, I travelled in Persia, 
and from Bassora by land to Copenhagen, in perfect health, and 
with very little trouble from the inhabitants of those countries." 

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28 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

became his intimate friend. He was a younger son of 
Scott of Harden, an episcopal and formerly Jacobite 
fiimily in Roxburghshire, to which also Sir Walter Scott 
belongs. Thirty-five years afterwards, while I was a 
student in Edinburgh, the house of this gentleman, who 
then in the decline of life lived at his ease in the Scottish 
capital on the fortune acquired by honourable industry, 
was always open to me, and I was regarded in no other 
light than as a member of the family. 

The reception which he found among the English, was 
extremely cordial. Bombay, at that time, was indeed 
widely different from what it is at present. Instead of 
being a man of scientific and liberal education, like a 
Duncan or Sir Evan Nepean or Sir John Malcolm, the 
governor at that time, according to the old system of the 
East India Company, was a factor who had risen in the 
service. The members of the council were in like man- 
ner men of ordinary education ; the officers for the most 
part were persons out of all nations, who had embraced 
an obscure service as a refuge from adventures or an es- 
cape from want. Still, even in this retired colony, the 
noble English spirit was not imperceptible ; and besides 
his friend Scott, there were many, whom the strong, 
honest, national good sense had enabled to acquire a pe- 
culiar intelligence and cultivation of their own, without 
the aid of traditional learning. In Egypt, my ^ther had 
ahready found himself most at home among the English ; 
and here in Bombay the foundation was laid for that mu- 
tual regard, which continued ever after, and of which I 
shall speak in the sequel. 

Among his nearest friends was Captain Howe of the 
Royal Navy, a brother of Admiral Lord Howe and of 
General Sir William Howe. From him my father re- 
ceived engraved charts of the Indian seas, and of single 
portions, roads and harbours, of the south-eastern coast 
of Arabia. It was a source of pleasure to Niebuhr, to 
be able to requite the present of his friend by another, 
in which he could truly manifest to the English nation 
his gratitude for their hospitality. He gave him there- 
fore a copy of his chart of the Red Sea, which he had 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 29 

completed at Bombay, and which from Djidda north- 
wards was wholly new to the English ; for no British ship 
had then ever visited these waters. With the help of 
this chart they undertook the navigation some years 
afterwards. Smce that time the chart has indeed been 
uncommonly improved and perfected by the English ; 
the eastern coast by Sir Home Popham, and the western 
(which is entirely wanting in my father's chart) by the 
expedition set on foot by Lord Valentia ; but the ground-^ 
plan of all these more complete charts, is still that of 
Niebuhr. 

In Bombay my father learned the English language. 
He collected also all the information which was to be ob- 
tained respecting the Parsees and Hindoos; visited the 
pagodas hewn in the rocks of Elephanta, and made draw- 
ings of their sculptures; not elegant, indeed, but so much 
the more faithful. That he was not, in general, an ele- 
gant draughtsman, could do no harm, so far as it regards 
the caricatures and hideous forms of Indian mythology. 

He occupied himself, further, in reducing all his jour- 
nals into proper order ; and sent a copy of them over 
London to Denmark. He took an opportunity, also, of 
visiting Surat 

It had been at first arranged, that the travellers should 
return over India. But as now, when his health was re- 
stored, Niebuhr felt again in their full strength all the 
energy and inclination which had originally prompted him 
to undertake the expedition, this arrangement did not sa- 
tisfy him, and he determined to return over land. He 
had now, however, to*'embrace much more in his plans of 
observation, than had been oiiginally assigned to him ; 
and accordingly he made it his duty, to observe and set 
down every thing which occurred to his notice. But in 
order to accomplish this, he was compelled to relieve him- 
self, in some degree, from the harassing labours which 
attended his original vocation. After leaving Bombay, 
therefore, he gave up the practice of taking lunar obser- 
vations ; since without the approval of his friend Mayer, 
whose death he first learned at Bombay, he did not, as 
he could and should have done, place any confidence in 

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30 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

himself. What also contributed ' to this step, was the 
death of his Swedish servant, whom he had trained to as- 
sist him in the mechanical part of the observations. The 
omission is certainly much to be regretted ; for in regard 
to Persia and Turkey in Asia, we are still very deficient 
in observations of that sort. But whoever has witnessed 
how much Niebuhr himself was pained by the circum- 
stance in his old age, will have been thereby led to re- 
spect and venerate him in a higher degree, than he can 
feel the want of the desired labours. 

After a residence of fourteen months, Niebuhr left 
Bombay in December 1764; visited Maskat and made 
himself acquainted with the remarkable province of 
Oman ; remained however not long there, but hastened 
over Abuschaher (Busheer) and Shiraz to Persepolis. 

These ruins, their inscriptions and bas-reliefs, had al- 
ready been so far copied by three former travellers, that 
they had deeply excited my father's attention, as being 
the most important monuments of the East. The mul- 
titude of the inscriptions and figures of men and animals 
permitted the hope, that an interpreter would yet some- 
where be found, who, when accurate copies of both 
should be laid before him, by comparing together the in- 
scriptions and the figures, would be able to decipher and 
explain the former ; and Niebuhr's tact and comprehen- 
sive glance had already taught him, how unsatisfactory 
all the previous delineations were. Nothing which he 
had seen in the East, had attracted him so* powerfully in 
anticipation ; he could not rest until he had reached 
Persepolis ; and the last night before his arrival was pass- 
ed without sleep. The image of these ruins remained 
indehbly fixed upon his mind all his life long ; they were 
to him the crown of all that he had seen. 

He continued among them three and a half weeks, in 
the midst of desolation ; and during this interval he la- 
boured uninterruptedly in taking the measurement and 
drawings of the ruins. Those inscriptions which were on 
the higher parts of the walls, could be distinctly traced, 
only when the sun's rays fell upon them ; and as, in this 
atmosphere, the hard and originally polished black mar- 
30 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 31 

ble does not decay so as to lose its polish, the eyes of 
the traveller, already strained by his incessant labour, 
♦became dangerously inflamed. This circumstance, coup* 
led with the death of his Armenian servant, compelled 
him most unwillingly to abandon this ancient Persian 
sanctuary, without having fully exhausted it in his delin- 
eations. 

He returned over Shiraz to Abuschaher (Busheer), 
and thence across the Persian Gulf to Basra, (Bassora). 
In Persia he collected historical accounts of the fortunes 
of that unhappy country, from the death of Nadir Shah 
until that time. By the help of these he has enriched 
the German translation of Sir William Jones's History 
of Nadir Shah, the Persian manuscript of which he him- 
self brought to Europe ; and has given to it a value now 
little known. Olivier at least, to speak with the utmost 
modesty, has given no better information respecting this 
period. 

From Bassora he proceeded, in November 1765, over 
Meshed Ali and Meshed Hossein, places of resort for 
Mohammedan pilgrims which had as yet been visited by 
no European, to Bagdad ; and thence over Mosul and 
Diarbekr to Aleppo, where he arrived June 6, 1766. 
By this time he had become entirely domesticated in the 
East ; since he had been left alone, he could conform 
himself without diflSculty or hinderance to oriental man- 
ners and customs. It is true, he was now travelling in 
far healthier regions ; but he also had never enjoyed 
more perfect health. 

During this interval of eighteen months, he had seen 
very little of Europeans, except at Karek, where the sin- 
gular establishment of the Dutch existed at that time. 
In many of the larger Turkish cities which he visited, 
there were indeed convents of catholic missionaries; but 
these he regarded as disturbers of the peace of the un- 
fortunate native Christians, and avoided them. He ne- 
vertheless adds his testimony, that among these catholic 
missionaries, by far the greater part of whom are only 
noted for ignorance and intolerance, there occur indivi- 
dual examples of sanctity and devotedness, such as can 

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32 LIFE OF CARSTBN NIEBUHR. 

scarcely be found UDder other circumstances. He be- 
came acquainted at Bagdad, in particular, with Father 
Angelo, who during the prevalence of the plague nursed 
several thousands of the sick of every nation and faith ; 
and whose own hfe, when he was himself attacked by the 
disease, was saved by a crisis, which pious minds might 
well term miraculous^^ — But at Aleppo, Niebuhr found 
himself in a numerous society of European consuls and 
merchants of all nations, who at that time, when peace 
every where prevailed in Europe, lived together in unin- 
terrupted harmony. Some of them were married ; and 
their houses afforded the charm of European family life, 
in the enjoyment of female society. 

Niebuhr^s most pleasing and intimate intercourse was 
here also among the English. He became acquainted 
with Dr. Patrick Russell, author of the work on the 
plague, and publisher of the Description of Aleppo writ- 
ten by his uncle Alexander Russell. This venerable 
friend of my father I have also many years afterwards 
personally known, and have listened to his stories of for- 
mer times, as they flowed from a heart full of warm 
friendship and esteem. 

Count Bernstorf had gladly approved of my fether's 
determination to extend his journey ; and as the circum- 
stance soon became generally known, the Count was re- 
quested to permit him to visit Cyprus, in order to copy 
again the Phenician inscriptions at Citium ; since it was 
supposed, that the delineation of them by Pococke must 
have been as little successful, as those which he had at- 
tempted of Greek inscriptions. My father found no such 
inscriptions; but I feel bound to confess, that his conjec- 
ture on this point can scarcely be well grounded, viz. that 
Pococke had found only Old Armenian inscriptions, such 
as he himself saw at Saline near Larneca, and had copied 
them imperfectly. The stones might easily have been 
removed in the interval. 

An opportunity of crossing over to Jaffa enticed him 
to visit Palestine, where the geography of no single point 
had as yet been astronomicjdly determined, and the to- 
pography of Jerusalem was still without any plan in which 

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LIPB OF CAR8TBN NISBUHK^ 39 

l;onficknce could be placed. Thin he accompUAed in 
the beginning of Angnst, so £aur as time permitted. He 
returned then to* Jafl^ made from Sidon an excursion' 
across mount Lebanon to Damascus, and thence went 
again to Aleppo. 

Five months and a half after his first arnTal in thati 
city» the 20th of November 1766, he left it againj to en- 
ter upon the direct and uninterrupted journey homewards* 
He travelled with a carava» as far as Brusa (Bursa). 
Asia Minor is exceedingly cold in winter, except the 
sunny land along the coast ; and the traveller suffered as 
much from frost, ice-cold winds, and Snow stoito% upon' 
the high plain of Taurus, as he could have done during a 
winter journey in the most northern regions. But in the 
warm and delightful Brusa, he recovered from the effects 
of a species of fatigue and suffering to which he had been 
so long a stranger ; and employed his leisure, as ever, in 
reducing all his observations to regular journals, charts, 
and plans. He reached Constantinople February 20, 
1767. 

In this capital of the Turkish empire, which six years 
before he had \dsited only as a sick man and a stranger 
in the East, and therefore could not fully examine, he 
remained three and a half months. He had now seen 
many Turkish provinces, and was acquainted with their 
interior arrangement and administration ; and here in 
the capital he sought and acquired a knowledge of the 
general economy and administration, both civil and mili- 
tary, of the Turkish state at large. His very fundamen- 
tal and satisfactory dissertations on these subjects, have 
been printed. 

European Turkey can be attractive to those philologi- 
ans only, who seek and behold in her Greece, Macedo- 
nia, and, in general, the past. My father therefore tra- 
velled rapidly, in fourteen days, through unsafe and al- 
most impassable regions, to the Danube ; and thence with 
little less speed through Wallachia and Moldavia. In the 
capital of the former of these countries, the plague was 
then raging. After the middle of July he entered once 
more, near Zwaniec, the territory of a Christian state. 

NO. XIII. C • Dgtzedby^Ui^t 



34 LIFE OF CARSTBN NIEBDHR. 

The king of Poland, Stanislaus Poniatowsky, a man of 
refined manners and literary taste, and actuated in a high 
degree by that spirit of the times which did homage to 
science and to learned men, had requested of the Danish 
government, that my father might be permitted to take 
his homeward way through Poland. He received the 
celebrated traveller with the delicacy of an accomplished 
gentleman, who desires to make his guest feel, that he 
has not been invited out of mere curiosity. He succeed- 
ed in gaining the heart of my father, and in retaining it 
by a correspondence continued through many years. In- 
deed my father, who in the East had been shut out from 
all knowledge of public occurrences in Europe, afterwards, 
when the civil war broke out in Poland, looked upon the 
confederates as rebels, and always regarded his princely 
friend as a persecuted, legitimate and excellent king. 

On the way from Warsaw, he visited Gottingen, 
and also his native place ; where during his absence a 
large marsh-farm had fallen to him, by the death of his 
mother's brother. 

At Copenhagen, where he arrived in November, he 
was received with great distinction by the court, the mi- 
nisters, and by all the learned men. Count Bemstorf, 
who knew how to appreciate his worth in every respect, 
but who also, as the author of the expedition, felt his own 
honour to be connected with the success of it, seemed to 
wish to express his gratitude by the most friendly offices. 
My father became intimately acquainted with him ; and 
through him with his nephew the great second Count 
Bemstorf, and with the widowed Countess Stolberg and 
her sons, at that time in their earliest youth.* Klop- 

Theae recollect how Bemstorf used to communicate to their 
mother my father's letters as they arrived ; the reading of which 
was also a feast for the boys. These letters are said to have con- 
tained many lively traits, which my father either did not enter in his 
journals, or else passed over in preparing the account of his travels, 
because they seemed to him unimportant and to have no relation to 
science. It is greatly to be regretted, that it has not been possible 
to consult these letters in reference to the present biography. [The 
youths here referred to became afterwards the Counts Stolberg, so. 
well known in the literature of Germany. The younger became 
34 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 35 

^ock and the other family friends of the minister became 
intimate with him. His own nearest and dearest friends 
were Professor Krazenstein and his distinguished first 
wife. 

His first business was the settlement of the money ac- 
counts of the expedition. From his own entries, he 
could not estimate the cost of the whole ; because these 
did not include the sums which had been expended in 
preparatory measures. It seems, too, that he neglected 
to procure a copy of the general account. At least none 
such is to be found among his papers ; while in these he 
cites the authority of another person for the statement, 
that the expenses of the whole expedition amounted only 
to 21,000 Danish rix dollars.* I remember to have 
heard, at Copenhagen, another and a somewhat (though 
not much) larger sum mentioned ; but as a public request 
for information on this point has produced none, I must 
leave the matter undecided. 

This comparatively small amount of the expenses, ex- 
cited even at that time astonishment. They would na- 
turally have risen much higher, had not my father, during 
the whole of the last four years, been the only survivor. 
Still, although a single traveller of course required few- 
er expenditures, yet they were also still further dimin- 
ished by the circumstance, that he not only avoided 
every thing which was not necessary for his object, but 
also paid out of his own pocket for every thing which was 
in any way personal. 

" A far more difficult rackoning," he says in some no- 
tices of his life written for his family, " was that which I 
now had to render to the pubhc in regard to my jour- 
ney." The materials contained in his journals were in 
the highest degree rich and profuse ; and that he wrought 
them up with a degree of perfection, to which the entire 
artlessness and simplicity of his manner contributed not a 
little, every one will now acknowledge. He himself, how- 
ever, distrusted his own capacity almost to despsur. We 

also celebrated by his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith in 
1800. He died in 1819, and his elder brother in 1821. Tr.] 
• About £3400. 

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36 LIFE OF CAR8TBN NIEBUHR. 

have seen how he had grown up to manhood without any 
familiarity with literary labours ; he had e?en read com- 
paratively very little, especially in the German language. 
Indeed the High German dialect, the language of booK% 
was not eyen his mother tongue ; he had learned it first 
as a youth, and never possessed it in any great extent of 
copiousness. Still more did he fear, lest through the 
want of adequate learning, he might exhibit things in a 
false or improper light ; and thus subject himself to be 
misunderstood or unjustly estimated. 

His first design was, to publish two separate works be- 
fore hi^ Travels ; first, answers to the questions which 
had been directed to the travellers, out of his own vad 
Forakaal's papers ; and secondly, the whole of his astro-* 
nomical observations. 

One would naturally have expected, that the questions 
which had induced Michaelis to apply to a foreign state 
to affect the solution of them, must have been definite 
and well considered inquiries, even if their number did 
not amount to a full hundreds This, however, was so 
little the case, that more than four years after the origin 
nal proposition, when the travellers sailed from Copenha-> 
gen, only two unimportant questions had been presented 
by him. The remaining questions first reached them 
during their travels, in three different parcels. 

More important than all these, without comparison, waa 
the essay prepared by the Academy of Inscriptions and 
Belles Lettres at Paris, with that true spirit of oriental 
philology, for which France has long been distinguished. 
It contained points of inquiry respecting the history, Ian* 
guage, manners and customs, &c. of Yemen ; and is to be 
found appended to the Questions of Michaelis. 

As these are now generally known, it may safely be left 
to the judgment of every one, whether satisfactory an- 
swers, even where it was worth the trouble, could possi* 
bly have been given to them ? The philologian of the 
expedition certainly could not have done it in any case ; 
Forskaal, who by the variety of his attainments was the only- 
one adapted to it, made the attempt so far as he coula. 
So long as Forskaal lived, my father, who knew nothing 

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LIRE OP CAESTBN NIBBOHR. 37 

4»f Hebrew, took part in such inqiuries only as inddental ; 
thoiigb indeed he n^ected nothing merely as being in- 
cidental. But after he was left alone, he spared no pains 
or trouble to procure answers to Michaelis's questions. 
In this way he accomplished in the widest extent, all 
whidi could be demanded of him in this department. 
He himsdf acknowledged the amount of what he effected, 
to be very small ; and the modesty of expressions like 
these in his Preface, might well have averted the hostile 
thrusts of affected superiority in the Autobiography of 
Michaelis.* 

* The rMUiks of Bfiehaelit here referred to, will be found in the 
two iait parngnph* bat one, of the Appendix to this article. In 
order that the reader may hare the whole ease before him, to far 
«• it appears from any printed documents, the remarks also of Nie- 
Imhr in his Prefaee, are here subjoined, both In regard to the value 
«f the infomiation collected by him, and the reasons which induced 
Inm to abandon his original plan of publication. See his Descrip- 
tion of 4(Bbia, German edition, Pref. p. xrii — ^six. 

*' Since the greater part of the questions of Michaelis belong to 
fldences entirely different from those to which I had devoted my- 
self; and as I first received them in full only in August 1764 at 
Bombay, and consequently more than a year after the death of my 
tm^ Qonpenions, for whom the most of them were intended ; there 
cannot reasonably be required of me so complete an answer to them, as 
might justly have been expected from my companions. As to the 
questions which had respect to theHebrew language, I could do nothing 
vore than shew the words to learned Jews, and note their answers. 
Aatiiese spoke bo> European language, but only Arabic, it is pro- 
bi^le that many of their explanations, even if correct, must have 
•ometimes remained obscure to me ; because, although I could con- 
verse in Arabic on topics of daily occurrence, I was not yet in a con- 
ditioD to discourse as well in that language on scientific subjects. 
ilk respect to aH the other questions, I inquired both of Moham- 
medans and Christians ; and it often cost me a great deal of trouble 
to gain any information at all on these points. For a traveller who 
remains only a short time in a place, it is often very difficult to get 
acquainted with persons whom the inhabitants regard as learned ; 
and even when he does sometimes obtain access to them, they are 
wut partieidariy pleased with being overwhefaned with questions 
from a stranger. One must therefore ask questions on such topics, 
cB^y incidentally. To do this requires not only much time and pa- 
tience, but one must also be very cautious and distrustful in regard 
Co the answers ; because he will find among Orientals also, persons 
who are rea^ either purposely or ignorant to tell untruths, in or- 

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38 LIFB OF CARSTEN NIBBCHR. 

As he now found these answers to be too unimportaiit 
for separate publication, and therefore properly decided to 
incorporate them with his larger work ; so other entirely 
different causes arose, which determined him not to pub- 
lish separately his astronomical observations. 

I have already related how distrustful he was, in re- 
gard to the correctness of his lunar observations and the 
calculation of them. Had Mayer lived, he would have 
undertaken the examination of them; and when once 
pronounced correct by him, my father would have given 
them to the public with confidence. But now, he found 

der to avoid giving a stranger full infonnation at once, or also in 
order to carry the appearance of knowing every thing. I have in- 
deed endeavoured, so far as I was able, to sift both the account* 
and those from whom I received them ; and have commonly made 
inquiries of more than one person in reference to every question. 
But still, I am not certain, whether 1 have not sometimes been put 
off with incorrect information ; and will therefore gladly change any 
thmg, if such places shall be pointed out to me. ^ 

" My first intention was, to publish by itself every thing which I 
had collected for the illustration of the questions sent us by differ- 
ent learned men." — " I afterwards sent a copy of all my own ob^ 
servations illustrative of Midiaelis's questions, and of what I had 
found adfi^^ted to this purpose among Forskaal's papers, to Michae- 
lis himself; with the request, that he would look it carefully 
through, strike out and correct what he thought proper, or other^ 
wise give me bis remarks upon it in writing ; because I readily be^ 
lieve, that among my answers there are many of little importance, 
and some of no value at all. I have to regret, however, that he 
made no corrections, of any consequence in my manuscript ; and 
that I have not yet received the notes, which I expected would have 
been afterwards forwarded. I have, therefore, not ventured to 
print the answers to the questions separately ; but, as they also have 
reference to Arabia, have preferred to incorporate them into my geo* 
graphical description of that country." 

It is but justico to Michaelis to remark here,' that in Iks review 
of Niebuhr's Description of Arabia, (Oriental, and Exeget. Biblio- 
thek, Th. iv. p. 64 sqj he has commented upon the preceding state- 
ment of Niebuhr, and assigned the reasons at length why he did 
not comply with Niebuhr's request. The reasoBs themselves are 
sufficient ; but they are brought forward with the air of a special 
pleader ; and thus a suspicion is excited, that they were not the 
only true ones. Michaelis affirms that Niebuhr was indignant at 
being thus disappointed. The probable inference therefore is, th«t 
Niebuhr had good reason to expect a di£ferent resolti. — ^Tr. 

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LIPB OF CARSTBN NIBBDHR. 39 

no one who was master of Mayer^s method, or who was 
able and willing to calm his timidity by a scientific exa- 
Inination. 

It happened, on the contrary, very unfortunately, that 
Father Hell, who had been sent to observe the transit of 
Venus at Wardohuus, near the northern extremity of 
Norway, resided in 1769 at Copenhagen. Father Hell 
was certainly a very skilful astronomer ; but he was a Je- 
suit in science also, and disposed to depreciate and sup- 
press the merits of others. As an instance of this, may 
be adduced the fact, that he took great pains to decry 
the quadrant which my father had used so constantly and 
with so great skill, as an insufficient instrument. On this 
point, however, it is true, he altered his language ; for 
he himself took this very quadrant along with him to 
Norway. He was a declared opposer of Mayer's method ; 
and since my father felt his superiority as a scientific as- 
tronomer, and acknowledged it with entire modesty, Fa- 
ther Hell took advantage of this circumstance to increase 
his distrust in the value of his observations, and to main- 
tain the consecrated and only saving method by means 
of the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites. Of these also my 
&ther had taken some observations. The geographical 
readers of his Travels will recollect, that the longitude 
of Loheia is determined by this method, and that my fa- 
ther himself ascribes the calculations to Father Hell. No 
one ought however to be uninformed, how much his hu- 
mility operated here also to his disadvantage ; nor to con- 
clude that he himself did not know how to calculate those 
observations. He had indeed already calculated them 
himself ; but as Father Hell took the trouble to calcu- 
late them after him, my father, to his own unmerited 
abasement, ascribed to him the whole of the labour. 

Enough of honour would indeed remain to him, both 
among his contemporaries and posterity, even were this 
misunderstanding never to be removed. But the impres- 
sion which the cunning Jesuit thus made upon his mind, 
operated most injuriously. He did not indeed entirely 
lose all fiiith in the observations ; but he now doubly dis- 
. trusted their reception if made public ; and therefore 

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40 hSPE OF CARSTfiN IHBBVIIR. 

thoi^t it his duij to withhold them^ until 
ahouM he found, who would exanane uid pronouBce upoD 
them ; a kindness which he received many years after- 
wards from Biirg. 

.He came thecefore to the conclusion, to mould his 
materials into the form of the two works which have ap- 
peared. 

For the publication of these works, Bernstorf affibrjiied 
•him a very liberal aid from the Danish government. All 
the engravings were made at the expense of the govern- 
meut, and the pktes presented to him as his own pro- 
perty. All other Bzpenses he sustained himself ; as he 
had adopted the unfortunate plan of being his own pub- 
lisher. 

While he was thus engs^ed in preparing his Desciip- 
tion of Arabia for the press, the political circumstaaces of 
Denmark suddenly changed in a manner the most painful 
to Niebuhr. Struensee got possession not only of the 
government, but also of the highest power ; and Bem- 
atorf was dismissed. My father did not regard himself 
as a public person ; he never acted, not even on this oc- 
casion, in a way to excite notice ; but he nev^ denied 
bis zealous attachment to Bernstorf, when all others ti- 
Budly drew back from the fallen nunister. He with a 
very few other faithful friends accompanied him to Ro- 
joskilde. 

He never visited Struensee ; and never made his ap- 
pearance on any occasion, where he must have come in 
contact with the unprincipled rulers of that unheard of 
epoch. He gave loud utterance to his views and feelings ; 
he rejoiced in the popular movements against these cor- 
rupters of their country ; and participated in the rejoic- 
ings over their fall. 

The Description of Arabia appeared at the Michaelmas 
Cur, in the autumn of 1772. A book of this kind could 
not be generally read $ it was adapted rather to compa- 
ratively a few. It is however difficult to conceive, how 
any one could have the face to attack a book so entirely 
dassieal, so unmeasurably ndi in its contents, and withal 
so qaodest in its pretensions, and strive to degrade and 

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1.IFE OF CARSTSN NIEBCHR. 41 

. traniple k under foot, as was done by a reviewer in the 
Gd&krte Anzmgen of Lemgo. Personal enmity Biitst 
hme blinded the eyes and poisoned the mind of the au- 
thor or instigator ; but he accomplished his object, and 
caused the deepest mcMrtification to a writer unacquainted 
wiih the every-day intercourse of literature, and already 
inclined to despondency by the lukewarm reception of 
ius work. 

My father reckoned upon a warmer interest in fcnreign 
countries; and for this the French translation, which 
lie himself published in the following year, appeared to 
be well calculated. He committed however in this busi-^ 
ness a twofold error; which augmented still more the 
influence of the evil star which presided over his book* 
s^ling ent^rises. The translation ought to have i^- 
peured at the same time with the original ; but now, a 
Dutch bookseller had made the same speculation, and his 
book was published at the same time. However incor- 
rectly and wretdiedly the French language is in general 
written in Holland, and however little credit the transla- 
tions deserve, which were made there of Niebuhr's work ; 
yet most unfortunately the Copenhagen translation, which 
was made by a French refugee clergyman, was still worse, 
«id indeed so unreadable, that the novelty of its contents 
'alone could have procured for it readers. My father, 
who understood French only moderately, could alas ! not 
Judge of this ; and lost his money in this inconsiderate 
undertaking. 

At this time there arrived at Copenhagen an ambassa- 
dor sent by the Pacha of Tripoli to several of the north- 
ern courts, by the name of Abderrachman Aga. The 
c^ject of his mission was to demand presents for his mas- 
ter, which the feeble government of Tripoli had at that 
time neither the power nor the courage to extort. The 
mission was also a favour to the envoy, who was enter- 
tuned at free cost by the courts which acknowledged 
him, and received also presents for himself personally. 
The ministry at Copenhagen gave him, as a companion 
And attendant, a man who had formerly been consul in 
Barb&ry, and had therefore the reputation of understand- 

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42 LIFE OF CABSTBN NIBBUHR. 

ing Arabic. With him» however, the Tripolitan, who 
possessed a good share of understanding, felt the time 
pass tediously ; and indeed this person knew little more 
of Arabic, than Milphio, in the PoentUus of Plautus, did 
of the Punic. My father, who cherished for the natives 
of oriental regions the feelings of a countryman, visited 
him ; and rejoiced in an opportunity to hear and speak 
Arabic, and also to indulge again in the habit, so long 
laid aside, of making himself acquainted with regions of 
the Arabian world which he had not himself visited, by 
information elicited from natives. In this way he made 
himself acquainted with Tripoli and Barbary. Still more 
important, however, were the accounts which he received 
respecting the interior of Africa ; and these indeed were 
the first which had been collected concerning those hid- 
den regions, since the time of John Leo, the African.* 
For two centuries and a half, notwithstanding the exten- 
sive and frequent intercourse of Europe^s with the 
northern coast and with Egypt, not even the smallest ac- 
cession had been made to our knowledge of those coun- 
tries. Geographers, therefore, could only compare and 
adapt to each other, with more or less critical tact and 
sagacity, the accounts of the Sherif Edrisi and of Leo» 
which were separated by an interval of about four hun- 
dred years ; — and here the power of divination exhibited 
by D' Anville's genius appears wonderful. My father's 
accounts were collected sixteen years before the impulse 
was felt in England for discovery in Africa. They have 
been most surprisingly confirmed ; and are among the 
most striking proofs of his peculiar talent for geographi- 
cal investigation. Abderrachman Aga had visited seve- 
ral of the countries and capitals of Europe ; but no other 
person had been found to question him in behalf of sci- 
ence. He was an important and capable witness. He 
had not, indeed, himself visited the Sahara or the negro 
countries ; but he had traded thither ; and besides the 
interest of the merchant, there was active in him a taste 

• This traveller lived at the close of the fifteenth, and beginning 
of the sixteenth centuries. Tr. 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 43 

for geogrs^hical information, which is very common 
among the Orientals, and is promoted by the narrow 
limits within which their topics of conversation are con-* 
fined. He even understood, in a measure, some of the 
negro lAiguages ; and from him and from a native of 
Bomou among his attendants, my father collected speci- 
mens of these tongues. 

The discovery of two great Mohammedan civilized 
kingdoms in the interior of Africa ; the assurance of the 
Tripolitan, that whoever knew how to travel as an Ori- 
ental, would meet with no greater difficulties than in 
Arabia, and with less fanaticism than in Egypt ; an un- 
doubtedly sincere invitation and assurance of all possible 
recommendation and furtherance; the consciousness of 
his own acquired adaptedness and habits; yea, even a 
sort of longing, which is felt also by other Europeans 
who have been domesticated in oriental nations, to return 
again to their calm and serious stillness ; all this awakened 
in my father so earnest a desire to travel over Tripoli 
and Fezzan to the Niger, that he most probably Would 
have undertaken this expedition at his own expense, and 
without even asking aid from the government, had not 
the duty of first completing the journal of his former 
travels held him back. And however great and numerous 
the dangers which might have threatened him, and which 
he could not calculate beforehand ; still, according to all 
human probability, we may believe, that he would have 
been successful. The Moorish traders, who were ren- 
dered suspicious and jealous by the first subsequent ill 
planned attempts of the English Society, would have re- 
garded him with no hostility ; and as to the difficulties 
and dangers of the journey itself, he was as well prepared 
and practised as a native of the East. His. talent for the 
enterprise was too peculiar, too decided, too well culti- 
vated and developed, not to have assured him success 
before every other traveller, except Brown. * 

But his life was now to &ke a new direction. Had he 
remained unmarried, he would have hastened the com- 

" It. will be recollected that this was written in 1616. 

43 

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44 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

plptian of his works, in order to undertake the attractive 
a<i¥enture already described. But in tke mean time, he 
hecame acquainted with my mother, the daughter of ih» 
deceased Blumenberg, the king's body physician, and be- 
trothed himself to her. It was his first and oftly love ; 
and that it was deep and strong is sufficiently attested by 
the fact, that he sacrificed to it his proposed second joor- 
Bey of discovery, on which he was so passionately bent, 
and the high enjoyment of living among Orientals. 

He was married in the summer of 1773. His wife 
bore him two children, my sister and myself. 

At the Easter fair of the following year, 1774, appeared 
tbe first volume of his Travels. This gave him occasion 
to risit the fair in person. But although business might 
indeed require him to be present at Leipzig, yet it was 
strictly the desire of making the personal acquaintance 
of Reiske, which induced him to take this journey. If 
any scholar of our nation has felt the distress of perse- 
cuted excellence, it surely is Reiske ; in whom his con- 
temporaries least of all perceived, that it was the very 
extent and fulness of his genius which caused his learning 
here and there to appear incomplete ; and that whatever 
naoght teem peevish and unamiable in himself or his 
writings, was excited by the bitter feeling of being trod- 
den under foot bv the tyranny of envious and more suc- 
cessful literary rivals. I say it not without pride, that 
Lessing and my father alone shewed due honour to this 
distinguished man while living ; and my father has pub- 
licly given his testimony, that no where, not even among 
the Arabians themselves, had he found a philologian so 
thoroughly acquainted with their literature. 

Notwithstanding the unpleasant experience which he 
had in regard to his own works, he yet felt it to be his 
duty to become also the publisher of the works of his 
friend Forskaal on natural history. This office of friend- 
ship occasioned him more loss than any of his literary 
undertakings; the sale was so incredibly small. The 
manuscripts could not be printed without being first ar- 
ranged ; nor could my father undertake the task of re- 
ducing them to order ; as he was a stranger in naturid 
44 

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LfFB OF CARSTBN NIEBUHB. 45 

UstoTy, and not sofficienUy acquainted with the Latin 
language. He put the business into the hands of a Swe- 
dish scholar, and paid him a very considerable sum for 
his labour. This Swede was a singular man ; and among 
other things prevailed upon my father, by entreaty, to 
let the preface appear under his name ; a compliance 
which afterwards was a source of great vexation to him. 
Of the uncommon value of these overlooked and forgot- 
ten works I have already spoken. 

Already rendered despondent by the important subos 
which he had lost, or at lea&t had put out of his power 
for a long time, through his pubhcations^ he delayed 
somewhat longer the publication of the second volume of 
his Travels, which first appeared in 1778. According to 
his plan, the narrative of his journey was to have been 
completed in this second volume. He broke off, how* 
ever, with his arrival at Aleppo. The remainder of his 
journey, dissertations respecting the Turkish empire and 
the Mohammedan religion, accounts of Abyssinia which 
he had collected in Yemen, and also those respecting 
Soudan which he had gathered from Abderrachman Aga» 
and finally his astronomical observations, were intended 
by him to constitute a third volume, which he then ex- 
pected might follow very soon, but which has never ap- 
peared ; sdthough he was so often admonished in relation 
to it, by those who honoured and respected him. The 
causes which intervened to prevent its being put to press^ 
will appear in the sequel. 

My father lived very contentedly at Copenhagen in 
the bosom of his (amWy and a small circle of fnends ; but 
the loss which the removal of Bernstorf occasioned to 
him, was never again made up. Misunderstandings and 
disunion troubled afterwards for a time his external tran- 
quillity ; and as vexations of a general nature could easily 
make him discontented with any residence or any station, 
he began now to long for a removal from the place where, 
for ten years, he had lived so pleasantly. In addition to 
this, also, he learned that General Huth had the intention 
of sending him to Norway, to aid as engineer in the geo- 
graphical admeasurement of that country. Such a mis- 

45 

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46 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

sion was to him in the highest degree unpleasant ; he 
was unwilling to be separated from his family, and could 
not take them with him among the wild Norwegian 
mountains. He sought therefore ah opportunity of re- 
tiring from the mihtary service, and of obtaining some 
situation in Holstein in the civil department. 

The government willingly acceded to his wish in this 
respect also : and he received the appointment of Land- 
schreiher* at Meldorf ; an office of which the duties, at 
that time, were not burdensome. 

He removed with his family in the summer of 1778 to 
this place, where he continued to reside until his death, 
and which thus became in one sense my native city. 

Meldorf, formerly the rich and populous capital of the 
ancient republic Ditmarsh, is now sunk into decay and 
desolation ; first, through repeated capture, plundering, 
and conflagration, during the wars of subjugation ; and 
then, by the sufferings of a close siege during the thirty 
years' war, and by the scarcity of provisions in the gene- 
ral decay under which the region pined from 1628 until 
the rise in the prices of grain in 1 790. Many remains 
of the good old time, serve mournfully to remind him 
who is acquainted with its history, of those prosperous 
days now irretrievably lost. Still and forsaken as the 
place was, there was at the time of my father's removal 
tlikher, no opportunity of social intercourse, such as was 
directly suited to his character and habits ; for, alas ! he 
was no philologian, and continued a stranger to the ex- 
cellent man (J%er) who is still the ornament of the 
place, until I afterwards came to be indebted to him for 
my philological education. 

Meanwhile he made all his arrangements as if for life. 
He built a house, which corresponds to his character in 
the old fashioned strength and thickness of its walls ; he 
planted also a fruit garden, from whose trees, however, 
he hardly expected, in his then feeble state of health, 
ever to gather fruit ; but of which he outlived the greater 
number. In these occupations, and in making himself 

• A species of clerkship peculiar to the country Tr. 

46 

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LIFE OP CARSTEN MEBUHR. 47 

acqaainted with the country, several yefais passed away, 
in which he already began- to lose sight of the comple- 
tion of his Travels. Indeed, this work became to him 
more and more the source of painful feelings, the nearer 
he was able to estimate the loss which he had sustained 
from it, and the more conscious he became of the great 
indifference which prevailed respecting it in Germany. 

About the same time, also, he met with another loss, 
which made him, as the father of a family, still more scru- 
pulous as to the propriety of sacrificing a portion of his still 
remaining property, in behalf of a thankless undertaking. 
The stoc^- mania sometimes seizes upon the considerate 
and sober-minded but inexperienced' man$ no less than 
upon the light-minded and those who have a passion for 
gaming ; just as epidemic pestilences sweep on both the 
strong and the weak together. During the American 
war, this rage for stocks prevailed at Copenhagen, and 
was encouraged and promoted by delusive appearances. 
My father aUo was persuaded to purchase some Asiatic 
stock, and to wait for its still farther advance, when it was 
already driven to an unreasonable and unfounded height ; 
until at last he lost considerable sums. 

Many circumstances seemed to combine, at that time, 
to disturb his serenity. He himself, as a native of a 
marsh region, enjoyed good health in the climate of Dit- 
marsh ; but my mother, like all strangers, suffered from 
fever ; and the delicate health of her sensitive frame was 
by degrees wholly undermined. — My father too, for many 
years, although indeed less uninterruptedly of late, had 
occupied himself with the composition and arrangement 
of his works ; this now ceased. For the same object, too, 
he had read much. But now he was in a place where he 
saw no work whatever, unless he procured it for himself. 
The void which arose from all these circumstances, press- 
ed heavily upon his spirits, already uneasy and disquieted ; 
and he felt it so much the more, because this fixed resi- 
dence in one place, where every day brought with it no- 
thing of novelty, was contrary and hostile to his nature, 
to those impulses which had led him abroad, and to the 
habits of a long and multifarious experience. What he 

47 

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48 LIFB OF CABSTEN NIBBUHR. 

wBBledy could be miuie good by no books ; and since he 
came to no explanation with himself as to the source (d 
his feelings, they tormented him in the shape of a gloomy 
despondency. The direction of his mind was turned ex- 
clusively to the historical knowledge of what exists at 
present on the earth. Even the history of the past was 
for him a secondary object. In consequence of 'this pe- 
culiarity, astronomy also, his own proper science, had 
charms for him only on account of the aid which it affords- 
to geography. In binlding his house, he had arranged a 
chamber as an observatory ; and he made here, and else- 
where in Holstein, observations for determining the geo- 
graphical position of places. Afterwards, however, he 
estranged himself more and more from this occupation ;f 
and the instruments of his journey were at last preserved 
only as relics^ 

It was therefore highly gratifying and advantageous to 
him, when, a few years after his settlement at Meldorf, 
Boie also came thither as Ztandvogt* As editor of the 
periodical work das Deutsche Museumy the latter stood 
in very extensive literary relations and connections, which 
at that time had a degree of life and vivacity now un-. 
known. He was also very rich in personal acquaintances. 
Both these circumstances brought to my father also many 
and various interesting materials for intellectual occupa- 
tion. There arose between the two men, — and also, 
when Boie married, between the two families, — a most 
intimate and daily intercourse, interwoven indeed with 
the fixed course of life. Through Boie, and in his house, 
my father became also acquainted with men, who other- 
wise would never have thought of visiting this remote comer. 
In this way Voss became his acquaintance and friend* 

Another and not less important advantage to my father, 
which the residence of Boie at Meldorf brought with it, 
was, that the latter possessed a very valuable and extensive 
library, which he was constantly increasing through the 
publication of his Museum. The greater part of this lib- 

* This is also a peculiar title, sometimes ^Yen to the chief ma- 
l^istrate of a province or district. Ta. 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBtJHR. 49 

rary was, indeed, foreign to my father's taste and pur- 
suits, and therefore indifferent to him ; still, however, there 
was much which interested him, and afforded him occu- 
pation. 

One consequence of this new relation was, that he was 
induced to commit to paper many essays, to which the 
circumstances of the times gave occasion, for the Museum ; 
and to give up for puhlication in that journal dissertations, 
which were lying by him for his own third volume. This 
last circumstance was, in more than one respect, disadvan- 
tageous. It weakened more and more the purpose of giv- 
ing that volume to the public, and broke up and scattered 
its contents, — there was now so much of what ought to 
s^pear as new and important in it, given away beforehand. 
IWEy father, too, who never wrote for the press with ease, 
nor without the fear of committing errors of language or 
construction, was now rendered so much the more anx- 
ious, because Boie, — to whom he submitted his manu- 
scripts for correction, as he had done formerly to a friend 
in Copenhagen, — as a rhetorician, not only expunged the 
small spots which were possibly there, but so corrected 
and altered the manuscripts throughout, that my father 
now regarded himself more and more decidedly, as wholly 
incapable of writing. In this he was wrong ; for just 
those essays which no other hand has touched, bear in 
themselves a dignified elegance, because they exhibit ex- 
actly his mode of speaking ; and it is only a corrupted 
taste, at least among us northern Germans, that can* take 
offence at the occasional Low German idioms, which some- 
times glimmer through his style, and sometimes stand 
fully out to view. 

In the mean time his .children were growing up, and 
he occupied himself with our education. He instructed 
us both in geography, and related to us much from his- 
tory. He taught me English and French, better at any 
rate than any instructor who could be found in such a 
place ; something also of mathematics ; and would have 
gone much farther in this science, had not, alas ! my want 
of taste and inchnation destroyed his pleasure. There 
was this circumstance, indeed, connected with all his in- 

NO. XIII. , I) Digitized by ^lUUyi^ 



50 lilFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHB. 

stnietionsy viz. that ke> who firoiii youth up never had an 
idea, how any one could do otherwise than seize and hold 
fast all proffered instruction with the utmost joy and per- 
severance, became indisposed to teach, so soon as he saw 
us inattentive and indisposed to learn. As, too, the first 
instruction which I received in La|in, before I had the 
good fortune to become the pupil of Jager, was very im- 
perfect, he helped me in this also, and read with me 
Caesar's Commentaries, while I was* yet a boy. Here too 
the peculiar turn of his mind shewed itaelif, in that he 
drew my attention more to ancient geography than to the 
history itself. The ancient GaUia of D'Anville, for 
whom he had a most peculiar veneration, always lay be- 
fore us; and I was required to find every place named, 
and to specify its position. His instruction was gramma- 
tical in no respect whatever. He had acquired the lan- 
guages, so far as he knew them, by the eye and by total 
impressions ; not by grammatical analysis. It was also 
his opinion, that no one deserves to learn what he does 
not mostly acquire for himself : so that the teacher ought 
to assist only in general, and help the pupil only out of 
those difficulties, which are to be solved in no other way. 
These two circumstances were probably the reason, why 
his attempt to instruct me in Arabic would not. succeed, 
to liis great disappointment and my mortification ; since 
he had already too long left off speaking that language to 
communicate it to me in that oral manner ; and in no 
other way could it be taught without the grammar. 
When I learned it of my own accord, at a later period, 
and sent him translations, he was highly delighted. 

I have a very lively recollection of many stories out 
of my boyish years, about the system of the universe and 
about the East ; when he used to take me upon his knee 
at evening before going to bed, and feed me with such 
food, instead of children's fables. The history of Moham* 
med, of the first CaHphs, and especially of Omar and Aii, 
for whom he felt the profoundest veneration ; that of the 
conquests and extension of Islamism, of the virtues of the 
early heroes of the new faith, the history of the Turks, — all 
these impressed themselves early and in the most pleasing 
50 

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LIFE O^ CARSTEN NTEBCRR; Si 

eolours on my mind. The historical works which treat 
of these subjects, were also almost the first books which 
came inte my hands. 

I recollect also about my tenth year, how at Christmas, 
in order to give the festival stiH more importance in my 
eyes, he brought out and read with me the manuscripts, 
which contained the accounts collected by him respecting 
Africa. These and his other manuscripts were kept in 
an ornamented eoffef, which was venerated by the chil- 
dren and inmates of the house like a second ark. He had 
tai^ht me to draw maps ; and encouraged and aided by 
him, maps of Abyssinia and Soudan were soon sketched. 

It was also a most welcome present, when I brought 
him, on his birth days, geograpycal accounts of oriental 
countries, compiled as well as could be expected of a 
chnld, or also translations from books of travels. He at 
first had no other wish, than that I might become his suc- 
cessor as a traveller in the East. But the influence of a 
very tender and anxious mother upon my physical educa- 
tion, destroyed this plan in its foundation. At her per- 
suasion also, he afterwards gave up the thought which he 
had still cherished, of partially returning to the original 
plan.' It had always been a favourite idea with him, to 
take advantage of the distinguished good-will which was 
fteh towards him in England, and of the services which he 
had rendered to the East India Company in reference to 
the navigation of the upper part of the Red Sea, in order 
to procure for me, as soon as I was old enough, an ap- 
f»ointment in India. In this perhaps he might have been 
successiiiL With this idea, the frustration of which was 
afterwards as pleasing to him as to myself, much of his 
instruction was connected. Thus he made use chiefly of 
English books of instruction, put English works of all 
kinds into my hands, and very early also regtAar' files of 
English newspapers; — circumstances which '1 mention 
here, not because they have had a decided influence upon 
my riper life, but because they serve to exhibit his cha- 
racter. 

With the utmost indulgence and interest, he was ac- 
customed to fall in with the half intelligent, half childish 

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52 UPE OF CARSTEN NIEBURR. 

suggestions which were made by me. He built with BMf 
castles in the air, .conversed with me on every thing which 
the times brought with them, and gave me ideas and ocu- 
lar demonstration on every topic on which we convers- 
ed. Thus, in' fortification, for example, he aided me to 
lay out, measure off^ and dig out polygons under his own 
eye, with books and plans at hand. 

In the winter of 1788, Herder sent him the small 
treatise Persepolis, * the contents of which interested 
him exceedingly ; and because they interested him so 
much, they were therefore the more gratefully surprising 
to him, as the first token, after many years, that he was 
not wholly forgotten by his countrymen. From this 
time onwards, however, tokens of acknowledgment be- 
came less and less rare, even in Germany. 

The war with the Turks, which broke out about thb 
time, excited in him also a lively interest, and gave occa- 
sion to several essays. Warmly as he loved the Arabs, 
and although at bottom, and in accordance with his pe- 
culiar disposition, the Arabs of Medina, Bagdad, and 
Cordova, under the Caliphs, were strictly the people of 
his heart ; just so warmly did he hate the stijQT and arro- 
gant Turks, — ^partly too as the tyrants of his Arabs, — 
and desired ardently that they might be expelled from 
the Happy Landf which under them has become a desert* 
Yet he did not wish the French to have the honour of 
this conquest ; nor did he, during the Egyptian expedi- 
tion, through his intimate knowledge of what Egypt had 
been, was, and might become, permit his mind to swerve 
from his fixed anticipations. From the French, accord- 
ing to his conviction, no ultimate good would result to 
other nations. 

The vicinity of his native place was one of the circum- 
stances, nfjuich rendered a residence in Ditmarsh particu- 
larly pleasant to him. Of his relatives, his half-brother 
Bartold Niebuhr, and his sister's son H. W. Srhmeelke, 

* See Herder's Werke, zur PMloaophie u, Geschichte, Band I. 
^ Arabia Felix, or Yemen, — T&, 

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LiyS OF CARSTSK NIEBUHB. 53 

i^ere the nearest and dearest. The first, who was several 
years younger than himself, was a country fanner in good 
drcurastances, and died unioarried long before my father. 
He was a man of uncomipon capacity ; and although he 
only as it were visited the school, and never exerted 
himself while there, because every thing was so easy to 
him, yet he had acquired Latin enough, to understand 
-the poets. *^ What are you reading there, unde?" said 
his nephew to him one day, as he found him with the 
Latin Georgies. '^ I have got me some bees,^ he re- 
)>lied, ** and I wish to see what Virgil has written about 
them." * As he once saw my father in his uniform, as 
an officer of engineers, he placed himself before him, 
viewed him dosely, smiled and said, ** Brother, this be- 
comes you very well; but yet you serve, and I am a 
free man." — Schmeelke, who was for a time burgomaster 
in Ottemdorf, was ever my father's favourite : and even 
t)efore his departure for Arabia, he had devised to him 
the greater part of his property, as his brother did not 
-need it. Unde and nephew visited each other not un- 
frequently ; and in Hadeln my father^s heart expanded 
itself fully. There was no relative so remote, no one 
connected with any of his youthful acquaintances, whose 
circumstances he did not know and retain in memory 
^th the most minute accuracy. • 

The appearance of the long expected Travels of Bruce, 
^1790,) was an important event in our monotonous life. 
IVfy father never belonged to that class of excessive 
doubters, who were ready to contend that Bruce had 
never been m Abyssinia at all. He read the book with- 
out prejudice ; and his judgment was precisely that which 
iias since been confirmed, without farther revision, by the 
:9econd Edinburgh edition and by Salt's two journeys. 
In an artide inserted in the new Deutsches Musewm^ he 

* The Low German (Piatt Deutsch) of the origmal is interestrag, 
as approaching much nearer to the EngUsh than th6 corresponding 
High German. " Ohm, wat list be da?'* '* Ik heb mi Immen 
tholegt, un ik wil doch seen, wat Virgilius davon schrift." — So in 
the other quotation : " Broder, dat steit di wul gut, aver du deenst 
4och, un ik bin een frien l^Iann !" — Tb. 

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54 LIFE OF CARSTBN NIEmJ^R* 

shewed that Brace had taken t)ie pretended deteriirinar' 
tions of the latitude on the Ari^ian guH directly from 
him ; that the conversation with Ali Bey was {udlpably an 
inventioA; and so too the pretended voyage over thie 
Red Sea to the region about Bab-^ehnandc^, as also a 
similar one along the <coast southward from Cosslr. He 
further declared, that, along with these gross untruths^ 
other pwpts of the Trayek tore the stamp of entire ere- 
dibiHty, and must be believed. * 

Aboift the same time he was a3so led, partly frosn in- 
dignation and |»artly in sport, to give his views c^ Witters 
dreams respecting the origin of the pyraoadds and of Per- 
sepolis, as being lusus naturae, rather than works of art.^ 

Abmit 1791 he was gratified by a letter from his old 
friend Dr. Russell, who was dbout to publish a new edi- 

* In a recent work entitled Lwes of celebrated TraveUers^ which 
contains also a biography of Niebubr» I have regretted to observe 
some very superflcial and flippant remarks on the above statement 
respecting Bruce. Every one at all acquainted With the subject, 
knows that thk judgment of Niebuhr is in general the correct one ; 
that Mr. Bruce, alUiough be usually places facts as the basis of his 
narrative, is yet very careless and often wide of the trutli in regard 
to the colouring and details; and sometimes has even not hesitated 
to make a wilful sacrifice of the truth. This last has been shown 
incontestibly to be the case, by Mr. Salt, out of Bruce's own mouth ; 
while the general negligence and high colouring of has manner ia 
well accounted for by Mr. Murcay, the celebrated ge«grapber, When 
he remarks, that " no cause can be assigned for that collusion, except 
the extreme indolence with which Mr. Bruce composed his work* 
about sixteen years after the events which are the subjects of it. — 
In the latter part of his days, he seems to have viewed the numerous 
adventures of his active life as in a dream, not in their natural 
state as to time and place, but under the pleasing and arbitrary 
change of memory- melting into imagination, ' (Brace's Travels, 
Edinb. ed. VII. p. 73. Compare Salt's Travels in Abyssinia, Phil. 
1816. p. 259 sq.) The remarks of the author of the superficisd 
Lives above mentioned, are indeed directed more against Lord Va- 
lentia and Mr. Salt, than against Niebuhr. He seems not to have 
been capable of forming a correct estimate of Niebuhr's w4>rA as a 
scientific traveller ; his standard of value is entertainment, rather 
than truth and accuracy ; and hence, in his view, Bruce bears away 
the palm from most, if not all other travellers Ta. 

t See the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeihmg, 1790, No. 223, 224. 
-— Tb. 

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UFE OF CARSTBN NIBBOHR. 55 

tion of the Dflscnption of Aleppo, and re<}ue8ted with 
this view a copy of my father's plan of that city. He, of 
course, did not refuse it ; and Dr. Russell has much im- 
proved it, by adding the most important buildings, cor- 
recting the dbrawings of the principal streets, and omitting 
the others. Indeed all my father's plans oi cities, except 
that of Cairo, which is as accurate as that of any Euro- 
pean city, are not to be regarded as exact, as he himself 
has remarked, except in respect to the external circuit, 
the gates, and the principal edifices so far as ^cified. 
It was no happy thought, — ^because it might easily lead 
to error, — ^that induced him to insert conjecturally the 
streets, which there was indeed no time to measure, and 
which it would not have been advisable even to have at- 
tempted to survey. 

This renewed correspondence with Dr. Russell gave 
rise to another with Major Rennell, who was preparing 
a new map of Asia, and requested the communication of 
his still unpublished travelling charts through Syria and 
Natolia. These he received at once and without scruple, 
from a liberality which felt no jealousy. Marsden also 
testified his respect towards .him, by sending him the 
History of Sumatra. — After the correspondence with 
Rennell had continued for some time, my father sent 
him a few of his observations of lunar distances, the ex- 
amination and sanction of which was to him a matter of 
so much concern, in order to induce Maskelyne to un- 
dertake this labour. But the attempt was unsuccessful. 

I forsake here the strict chronological arrangement, 
in order to speak of his correspondence with two distin- 
guished French scholars, which, if I do not mistake, com- 
menced some years later. The Baron Silvestre De Sacy, 
in deciphering the Pehlvi inscriptions of Nakshi-Rustam, 
had become acquainted with tne surprising accuracy of 
my father's delineations; and the latter, who entertamed 
lor the author of that philological masterpiece the highest 
respect, felt also grateful to him, because his own labours, 
which lay dead so long as they were unexplained, were 
now called into life. Between two persons so indebted 
to each other, there easily arose a pleasing correspon- 

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56 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHRr 

dence. De Sa^y was then occapied with a condensed 
translation of the Bark el Yemen^ or the History of the 
Turkish Conquest of Yemen. In this labour he made 
use of my father's geographical notices in the Description 
of Arabia, and of his map of the Imam's kingdom ; and 
had found Ihe very unexpecte4 result, that all the places 
named in that history, with the exception of two villages 
in Tehama, were accurately given in those works. So 
far |ts the map was made out from the journey itself, this 
is less surprising, than in respect to the far greater num- 
ber of places which rest merely upon the comparison of 
different accounts of bearings and distances ^ here we 
must acknowledge the critical tact and sagacity which, in 
the multitude of valrying accounts, could so correctly de- 
termine which to follow, according to the degree of their 
internal credibility. 

Out of this correspondence there arose in the sequel 
another, which also was very gratifying to my father, viz. 
with the learned, active, and sagacious geographer. Bar- 
bie du Bocage. He requested and received from my 
father materials for a map of Natolia ; not only the posi- 
tion of places as determined by astronomical observations^ 
but also itineraries which he had written down from the 
information of the caravan-gutdes. 

In November 1 792 my father was brought near to the 
grave by pleurisy, and recovered only by slow degrees. 
In consequence of his full habit of body, this fixed and 
almost sedentary life for so many years, had prepared the 
way for severe sickness and a long interruption of his 
health. In the following year he spit blood. He was 
not positively ill, but without energy, low spirited, out of 
humour, breathed with difficulty, and walked only with 
great effort. Another complaint also increased his anxi- 
ety. Several years before, there had appeared undfe* his 
right eye a small excrescence like a wart, which continued 
to spread slowly but constantly, and was only made worse 
by all the means employed to remove it. The physicians 
regarded it with the more solicitude, because they durst 
not venture upon its extirpation. After many years of 
anxiety and trouble, a remedy was at length found in 
56 

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LIFE OF CAKSTEN NIEBUHR. 57 

1196, by which it was loosened and removed^ roots and 
all. After this, on the completion of Bis sixty-sixth year, 
his health, and with it his frame of mind, took a most 
happy turn. Circumstances induced him < to purchase 
some marsh lands about an hour's distance from his 
house, and to undertake the reclamation of them for til- 
lage. It was refreshing to him thus to return to the em- 
ployments of his youth ; he sketched plans for making 
these lands productive, prosecuted them with youthful 
ardour, and promised himself the best success : — ^planted 
trees, dug drains and ditches, and so purchased by degrees 
a large estate. The result disappointed his hopes ; a large 
sum was lost here also. Still, in this case, it is not to be 
regretted ; for not only does much remain in a state of 
improvement and tillage, but the old age of my father 
was, without doubt, by this means prolonged and rendered 
more serene. He took much and active exercise, visited 
the newly planned farm now on foot and now on horse- 
back, and inspected indefatigably every i^ot, where any 
thing was to be done or directions to be given. As the 
fields were separated by broad ditches,- in order to shor- 
ten the distances he often made use of a leaping staff; to 
the use of which he had been accustomed from child- 
hood. He had now so renewed his strength, that, with 
the aid of such a staff, KluvstcLaken^ he was able in his 
seventieth year to spring over ditches ten feet wide. 

These and similar occupations diverted his attention 
in a measure from a misfortune, which had previously, 
and for some years, given him great uneasiness. ' The 
engraved plates both of his published works and also for 
the still unpublished part, had been deposited in the house 
of a friend at Copenhagen, which ^was reduced to ashes 
in the great conflagration of June 1 795. All were des- 
troyed ; and with these he now lost all courage and in- 
clination to supply the deficient volume. 

An opportunity, it is true, presented itself soon after, 
of making its contents known to the world, if not direct- 
ly for Germany. In England, where he was so well 
known, that almost every one who heard my name men- 
tioned, inquired very particularly and cordially after my 

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58 UFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

fiutker; and where his works, at least in Heron's abridg- 
ment, were so extensively circulated that I have myself 
found them in the possession of many country people, 
and an acquaintance met with them even in the Isle of 
Mull ;^n England, the inquiry was made of me very 
pressingly, whether he would not publish this volume 
there in the English language ? He declined this, how* 
ever, partly because he r^arded the making of a copy to 
he sent to me for translation, as more difficult than it 
really was; and partly because, with all his cor(lia}ity for' 
England, he regarded it as unjust and improper, not to 
let the conclusion of his work appear first in the German 
language and in Denmark, to which it properly belonged, 
through the ministry which occasioned its existence.^— 
The same proposition was more than once repeated at a 
later period. First in 1 802 ; and since I foresaw that 
he now would never prepare a German edition, imd be^ 
cause at that time his mind had been entirely tran<^iUized 
in regard to lus observations for the longitude, I besought 
him urgently to send me the manuscript, and permit the 
translation. My purpose was to connect with it a tran- 
slation of one of the Arabic manuscripts sent home by 
Mm, and now in the royal library at Copenhagen, vie. the 
History of Zebid, which contains a complete history of 
Yemen from the division of the Caliphate down through 
the middle ages ; further, to extract from Forskaal's 
shamefidly neglected works on natural history aU which 
did not relate to botany ; and also to compile a general 
map of Arabia. My father, however, persevered in his 
refusal ; which he afterwards regetted. During the cam* 
pa%n in East Prussia, the Earl of Donoughmore, at that 
time Lord Hutchinson, who cherished towards him a 
great respect, made through me similar prepositions to 
him, and was desirous of arranging the whole business on 
the most favourable conditions, according to the stan- 
dard of the relation which exists between authors and pub- 
lishers in England. But at that time I no longer had 
die opportunity of making those historical additions to 
the Description oi Arabia ; the language had become leea 
&mitiar ; the sending of tlie manuscript to me was qmte 

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LIFE OF CAR6TBN NIB8UBR. jfi9 

haziirdous ; and the traasimssion of the tnuiriation to fiajif- 
luid, from the tyrannical prohibition of all intercourse, 
was dangerous. 

In the Monthly Carre^Mmdence of Baron von Zadi^ 
my father found some views and Qfiinions reqpeoting 
Mayer's method of detenninmg the longitude, which he 
had tittle expected, hving as he did in a remote comes^ 
where the farther, developement of this scienee had re- 
mamed unknown ip him. Agreeably surprised at this 
drcom^^nce, he made known to Baron von Zach the ex* 
istence of his own observations, the earUest which had 
been undertaken in accordance with this system, and of* 
fered to communicate them. The readers of the Baron 
von Zach's Journal know how this offer was received by 
him and Burg,and what judgment they pronounced, after 
his observations had been calculated by the more perfect 
tables of Buig. This treasure for the geography of Asia 
is now preserved in that work. 

The consolation not to have laboured in vain, and nb 
longer to remain the subject of unjust misapprehen»on, 
sweetened *the decline of Kfe. He was hignly gratified 
by the distinction conferred upon him in 1802 by the 
French Institute, in choosing him as one of their foreign 
members ; for although his dislike to the nation had been 
rendered still stronger by th«r revolution, by their con- 
quests so full of woe to Germany, and by their now con- 
firmed and tyrannical sovereignty, yet he ever adcnow<^ 
lodged that no learned sodety could be compared in 
dignity and splendour with the National Institute of that 
period. 

Another grateful occurrence of this period was, that 
through the favour of the then crown prince, now king of 
Denmark, an addition was made to his salary, corres- 
ponding to the increase in the expense of living which had 
occurred in Holstein since his first appointment. 

From the time when this prince took the direction of the 
government, my father had ever enjoyed his decided good- 
will, but without ever taking advantage of it to obtain any 
favour for himself. And although the celebrated traveller 
might perhaps be the first object of this good-wiU, yet 

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CO MFE GF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

the civil officer deserved it no less. His official duties^ 
which consisted mostly in receiving and keeping the ac- 
counts of taxes, was certainly not of an agreeable kind, 
nor strictly appropriate to a man like him. He discharg- 
ed them, nowever, with indefatigable diligence and fide- 
lity. The mildness and indulgence of his conduct towards 
those from whom taxes were due, often at the hazard of 
personal loss and sometimes with personal loss to himself, 
as the increasing burden of the imposts converted even 
the^active and industrious farmer into a tardy paymaster, 
acquired for him the gratitude of' the subjects ; while 
the order and extreme conscientiousness, with which he 
discharged his official duties, secured to him the praise of 
the government. 

From the time of his appointment till the year 1802, 
the duties of his office remained nearly the same. But 
from that period they were augmented, in proportion as 
the necessities of the finances gave occasion to the levy- 
ing of new imposts. The first of the increasing multitude 
was a new tax on land and improvements ; for which the 
old registers had to be thrown aside, and new e^mates and 
registers prepared. In the commission appointed for this 
purpose in our district, my father, in consequence of his 
official relations and his personal ardour, was the most 
active, and indeed almost the only acting member. In 
order to judge of the magnitude of this duty, one must 
conceive of a district of 24000 inhabitants, all country 
people ; where the property is all in the hands of the pea- 
santry, and mostly divided up into small farms, — ^the 
smaller, the more productive the marshes. My father 
himself revised all the estimates, heard and decided upon 
the claims for abatement. He laboured thus, duHng hiai 
seventy-first and seventy-second years, till late in the 
night ; and persevered in this course notwithstanding the 
failure of his eye-sight. The reader will recollect,, that 
his eyes had suffered greatly in consequence of the draw- 
ings which he made at Persepolis ; they had received a 
sudden and more fatal injury through an unfortunate im- 
prudence in taking a solar observation, where he had for*- 
[otten to put the coloured glass in its place. Egypt also 

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' LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUBR. 61 

and the desert had, in this respect, l^ permanent effects 
behind. But these night labours were incurable. He 
soon became unable to read ; while for writing, he reqiur- 
ed a very strong light, and even then the Unes often ran 
into each other. 

This blindness, in regard to the unceasing progress of 
which he did not deceive himself, was a source of great 
affliction to him ; especially as it threatened soon to re- 
duce him to the necessity of resigning his office. Provi- 
dence happily so ordered it, that he was relieved from 
this necessity. 

My mother died in 1807) after many years of asthma- 
tical sufferings, which finally terminated in a tedious 
dropsy of the chest. Her daughter and widowed sister, 
who for the last twelve years had again lived with my pa- 
rents, were now relieved from the exclusive cares required 
by her sick bed, and were free henceforth to live wholly 
for the declining years of the hoary- headed man. My 
sister did not limit herself to this ; she took charge of 
such duties, as he himself could no longer perforin. This 
however was not sufficient ; since his eye«>sight continued 
to fail more and more, and what he wrote even with the 
greatest pains, was almost wholly illegible. 

We and all his friends regarded it as one of the most 
pleasing rewards of his honourable and useful life, that a 
friend was found, who undertook the business of his office 
with the affection and devotedness of a son. His present 
successor, Gloyer, had been led to make the acquaintance 
of my father by a lively taste for geographical knowledge ; 
to which indeed we are indebted for his very valuable and 
instructive Fragments upon the East Indies, chiefly upon 
the Indian system of* imposts. This direction of mind 
rendered his intercourse so pleasant to my father, that the 
latter, finding his new friend was bound by no other du- 
ties, proposed to him to become his assistant and a mem- 
ber of his household. Gloyer acceded to his wish ; and 
the government, at my father's request, (September 
1810,) officially recognised his friend as his assistant in 
office. Gloyer now divided the duties with my sister ; 
and I repeat it, the consolation of being able to intrust 

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62 LfFS OF CARSTEN NIEBVRR; 

to such a friend and such a daughter the honour andf duty 
of transsriing^ his oilrciat business, was One of the kindeM: 
rewards ol Providence. My father felt it to be so. But 
he did not suifer himself to become a stranger to those 
duties ; he continued to retain the thread of them unbro- 
len, long after he became blind ; every thing was read 
aud discussed in his presence. In Gloyer's conversation 
and daily intercourse, many an image of the East which 
had become indistinct, revived again ; and he also read 
aloud to my father, or repeated to him the contents of 
new works and books of travels. Tliis was for him, with- 
out comparison, the most attractive of all recreations. 
When I could relate in my letters to him, something from 
the mouth of a trareller recently returned from the East, 
or out of some book of travels which I had received, but 
which was yet unknown upon the continent, his spirit 
seemed to revive agaun from the very bottom of his soul ; 
and he dictated an answer full of the vivid perceptions of 
hris own mind. The more rec^it notices also of this kind, 
impressed themselves deeply and distinctly upon his mind 
until his death, just as in a more youthful memory ; and 
united themselves with the results of his own observation 
and experience. 

To myself the happiness was denied of contributing to 
«heer his declining age in any other way than by such 
communications ; for which indeed the materials became 
ever more and more scanty, in consequence of the shut- 
ting up of the continent. It was however -very gratifying 
to us both, that my entrance into - the Prussian service 
was connected with various journeys on public business, 
which afforded me more frequent opportunities of vi^ting 
him. Our visits always made him' happy ; and the 6lial 
and affectionate tenderness of my (first) wife, which he 
received and returned in a manner quite unusual with 
him, rendered these visits seasons of peculiar felicity. 

Among the pleasing enjoyments of his old age, must 
also be reckoned the intercourse with a fiamily nearl}'- 
related to us, and which had removed to his place of re- 
sidence; indeed its members were to him as children 
and grandchildren. Universally loved and revered, he 
62 

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' LIFE OF CABSTBN NIEBUHB. 63 

numbered also many other friends, whose inlercoune 
was very dear to him. But all these sources ol cheer- 
fulness to the soul, were so much the more important to 
him, the more heavily the ills of age continued to press 
upon his corporeal frame. With a E^legmatic tempera* 
ment, his person was yet stout and very full-blecNied ; 
and occasional blood-letting had now become the more 
indispensable to him. because his constitution had been 
for many years habituated to it. Unhappily he took it 
into his head, that he ought to omit this on account of 
his great age ; and could not be induced by any warnings 
or representations to give up thb idea, until dizziness, . 
apoplectic stupor, and spitting of blood, had brought him 
into the most imminent danger. These symptoms, which 
began to shew themselves about the time of my mother's 
death, returned afterwards, in a greater or less degree, 
almost every spring and autumn ; until in October 1813 
he was seized with a violent hemorrhage through the 
nose ; against which, nevertheless, his strong constitution 
was able to hold out. 

With no weariness of life, but yet satiated with Hfe, he 
often expressed himself during that great year, as ready 
and desirous to depart and rejoin iiis wife, if God should 
call him ; yet he would gladly wait and learn how the 
destiny of the world would be decided, and gladly once 
more see his absent children. 

His wishes were fulfilled. But first He had to experi- 
ence the visitation of the hostile irruption into Holstein.* 
But the distress and anxiety which this brought with it, 
were by no means equal to the heartfelt joy with which 
he regarded the general deliverance and the triumph of 
Germany and her allies. — The position of Ditmarsn, at 
a distance from any great road, and where only light 
troops could be sent, occasioned more danger of military 
excesses. Meldorf indeed was actually alarmed in this 
manner by a detachment of Mecklenburg troops, wi<^ 
which a rapacious commissary, through threats of plunder 

* This refers to the expedition of Bemadotte against the French 
and Danish corps in Holstein, after the battle of Leipzig in 1813. 
— Tr. 

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64 LIFE OP CARSTBN NIEBUHR. 

and conflagration, extorted a contribution. To avoid 
tbe occurrence of similar atrocities, General von Clause- 
witz, then a colonel in the German legion, provided mj 
father with a guard. 

One of the tokens of increasing feebleness, and a con- 
sequence of the apoplectic symptoms above mentioned, 
was a weakness in one of his legs, which several times 
occasioned a misstep or slip. This circumstance, although 
unpleasant, yet remaned without evil consequences; 
until, by an unfortunate fall in the beginning of March 
1814, his right leg received an injury, which resulted iii 
permanent lameness. He was never afterwards able to 
place his foot upon the ground ; he could move only 
with pain by the help of others ; he was taken out of 
bed only in the afternoon and placed in a chair with rol- 
lers. He probably cherished for a long time the hope 
of recovery ; but so great was his patience, that even the 
distrust which must unavoidably have forced itself upon 
his mind against this hope, could not disturb his saint-like 
composure and resignation. Gratitude towards Gloyer, 
who assisted in moving him, and who was unwearied and 
even inventive in his endeavours to occupy and cheer 
him, as also towards my sister who devoted herself wholly 
to him, towards his sister-in-law, and towards every one 
who showed him kindness^ rendered his situation even 



iius we found him in the autumn of 1814: and a 
more pleasing image could not remain to us, separated 
from him as we were necessarily again. All his features, 
with the extinguished eyes, had the expression of the 
highest weary old age of an extremely strong constitu- 
tion. One could not behold a more venerable sight. 
Thus a Cossack, who during the war found his way as 
an unbidden guest into the chamber where the silver- 
haired patriarch sat with uncovered head, was so struck 
with the sight, that he manifested towards him the high- 
est reverence, and treated the house with sincere respect 
and good-will. The serenity of his temper was unbroken ; 
and he often repeated, how gladly he could now go home, 
since all that he had wished to live for, was accompb'shed. 
64 

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LIFE OF CARSTBN NIEBUHB. 65 

Indeed, had his life been spared a few months longer, he 
would have felt the bitterest grief from the death of his 
beloved daughter-in-law ; an event which none of us at 
tha^ time anticipated as so very near, though fearful that 
it must be looked for at a period not far remote. 

A numerous and still unbroken family cirde were 
gathered aground him ; and he himself, except perhaps 
when some day of particular illness occurred, was full of 
heartfelt joy over the change of times, and ever ready to 
converse. We succeeded in drawing from, him conti- 
.nued recitab of his travels ; which he at this time gave 
us with peculiar fulness and sprightUness. Thus he once 
spoke for a long time and much in detail of Persepolis ; 
and described the walls on which the inscriptions and 
bas-reliefs of which he spoke, were found, just as one 
would describe a building which he had recently visited. 
We could not conceal our astonishment. He said to us, 
that as he lay thus blind upon his bed) the images of all 
that he had seen in the East were ever present to his 
soul; and it was therefore no wonder that he should 
speak of them as of yesterday. In like manner there 
was vividly re6ected to him, in the hours of stillness, the 
nocturnal view of the deep Asiatic heavens, with thdr 
brilliant host of stars, which he had so often contemplat- 
ed ; or else their blue and lofty vault by day ; and this 
was his greatest enjoyment. 

Once more, in the beginning of winter^ he was seized 
with a hemorrhage through the nose so violently, that, 
those around him expected his death ; but this also he 
survived. Towards the end of April 1815, the obstruc- 
tion which he had long.siiflfered in the chest from phlegm, 
grew much worse. His friendly physician alleviated the 
difficulty, which, as his family supposed, was more trou- 
blesome than dangerous. Towards evening on the 26th 
of April 1815, he desired some one to read to him, and 
asked several questions with entire consciousness. He 
fell again into a slumber, and died without a struggle. 

His funeral was attended by a multitude of people 

from every part of the district. In the memory of the 

oldest inhabitants, no one had died there so universally 

NO. XIII. E ^ .., M,M-^^ 

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66. LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

lamented. The interment was solemnized with all the 
honours, by which their veneration and affection could 
be testified. 

He had reached the age of eighty-two years and six 
weeks. Besides the Danish title of Counsellor of State, 
and others connected with his oflSce, he was Member of 
the Academy of Sciences at Gottingen, of the Swedish 
and Norwegian Societies, and of the Society of Natural 
History ; and was also Foreign Associate of the French 
National Institute. 

In person he was almost under the middle size, very- 
strong and robust, until his fortieth year spare, but after - 
wards thick-set and corpulent. There is only one en- 
graving of him extant, prefixed to a volume of the Allge- 
meine deutsche Bibliotkek, badly executed from a tolera- 
ble portrait out of that earlier epoch. His form and air, 
the large head, the short neck, his motions, all gave him 
an entirely oriental appearance. Had one seen him 
among Arabs from behind, in the oriental costume, espe- 
cially while walking in conversation and moving his hands, 
it would have been difficult to distinguish him as an Eu- 
ropean. This has often occurred to me, when I have 
turned in the streets to look after Moors from Barbarj^ 

He was in the utmost degree frugal ; to which indeed 
he had been accustomed from his earliest youth. As a 
countryman, he drank nothing but water and milk. At 
a later period, and only because he every where followed 
the customs of those with whom he associated, he 
drank a very little wine. He had no favourite dishes, 
except the peasants* food of his native place. 

He was, and remained all his life long, a genuine pea- 
sant ; with all the virtues, and with the lighter faults, of 
his native condition. It cannot be denied that he was 
self-willed ; it was extremely difficult to draw him off or 
persuade him from an idea which he had once adopted ; 
he always returned back again to the same. With equal 
firmness, also, he retained his prejudices for or against 
persons. But it was this same perseverance which gave 
him power to fulfil his calling, during the most important 
season of his life. 

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LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 



^7 



His character was without a spot ; his morals in the 
highest degree severe and pure. In all the relations of 
life he was unassuming and yielding. 

His mind was wholly bent on direct perception and 
observation. Abstraction and speculation were foreign 
to his nature. He could conceive of nothing but as con- 
crete. As to books, in respect to the truth of the con- 
tents he was without indulgence ; the simplest form was 
to him the most pleasant. With poetry he was unac- 
quainted, excepting Homer in the translation of Voss, 
Hermann and Dorothea, and the popular songs of the 
country. He was pleased with the romances of Fielding 
and Smollet ; others he had never read. He was inter- 
ested in architecture, indifferent towards painting and 
sculpture, but a lover of music. 

He lived only to observe, and to store his mind with 
the' fruits of his observation. A friend of the same age, 
who made a short journey with him when they were al- 
ready both old, remarked in silence, and loved afterwards 
to relate, how in the fields and villages he always found 
something to notice, and always knew how to elicit the 
information he wanted. In his sixty-eighth year he vi- 
sited the same friend at his own house, where he had 
never been before. The morning after his arrival, he 
caused the door to be unlocked for him at four o'clock ; 
and before breakfast he had walked through and around 
the whole city, and hAd so impressed the image of it on 
his mind, that from his description they could name to 
him every edifice and every house respecting which he 
made inquiries. 

With this exclusive propensity and direction of mind, 
he was not uneasy in regard to the things of the invisible 
world. He advanced towards those unknown regions in 
the fulness of a pure conscience. He believed in the 
interpositions of an overruling Providence for himself and 
his family ; because he thought he had evidently experi- 
enced them in the course of his life. It is remarkable, 
that this man, so little under the power of imagination, 
during the night in which his distant brother, of whose 
sickness he knew nothing, died, should have waked us in 

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68 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

order to tell us that his brother was dead. What' it was 
which thus affected him, whether awake or in a dream, 
he never told. 

As during his travels he had prescribed to himself his 
duties in their widest extent, so the recollection of those 
instances never faded from his mind, where he had been 
compelled to sacrifice his fixed purpose to another's will, 
or to other hinderances. He cast upon himself on this 
account reproaches, the injustice of which we could never 
make him calmly feel; and this self-tormenting spirit in- 
creased with his age, in a manner which caused its many 
melancholy feelings. 

Acknowledgments of his merits from scholars acquaint- 
ed with those subjects, like Reiske, De Sacy, and Ren- 
nell, afforded him high gratification ; for ^niptT honours 
and for vanity he was wholly inaccessible. The patent 
of nobihty offered him by the ministw Guldberg he de- 
clined. The title which, according to the custom of the 
Danish army, he bore as an officer of engineers, led one 
of his relatives to ask him, whether he had been enno- 
bled ? « No," he replied, " I would not do sudi disre- 
spect to my family." He judged that whoever did this, 
did not regard his descent as sufficiently honourable. 

He founded and has left for his posterity a higher no- 
bility. To this day no traveller returns from the East 
without admiration and gratitude for this teacher and 
guide, the most distinguished of oriental travellers. 
None of those who hitherto have followed him, can be 
compared with him ; and we may well inquire, whether 
he will ever find a successor who will complete the De- 
scription of Arabia and be named along witti him ? 



^8 Digitized by Google 



APPENDIX. 



PROM THE < LBBENSBBSCHRBIBUNG' OF J. D. MICHAELIS. 

TranUted from the Q«nnaii by Fnrf. BotdsMSi. * 

The commencement of the expedition sent at my sug- 
gestion to Arabia, at the expense of the king of Den- 
mark, occurred during the seven years' war. The history 
of it, so far as I was in any way concerned with it, is as 
follows; I had written to the late Count Bernstorf, that 
we yet knew very little respecting Arabia Felix, and that 
much might be gained for science by sending an intelli- 
gent traveller thither, especially for geography, natural 
history, philology, and the interpretation of the Bible ; 
and I ventured to suggest, whether the king of Denmark, 

* J. D. MiCHAELis LehensbeschreUnmff von ihm selbst abgefassty 
jtdt Aumerkungen von Haaaencamp, Rintelii undLeipz. 1793. 
This autobiography was written by Michaelis near the close of hi^ 
life; more tban twenty-five years after the events here described. 
The earliest account which he gave ol' the origin of the expedition, 
was in the preface to his hundred * Questions' prepared for the 
travellerr! Fragen an eine Geaellsckaft gelehrter Manner u. s, w. 
Franckf. 1762; printed also in French, ibid. 1763. As I haye 
deemed it no more than an act of justice to Michaelis, to give in 
this appendix his own latest statements and explanations, in regard 
to his connection with this expedition ; so I also think it right to 
give below some extracts from his other previous statements, even 
at the risk of prolixity and partial repetition. I do this, because 
the reader will perceive^ that there are some discrepancies between 
the accounts of Michaelis and those given in the preceding article ; 
and it is therefore also proper that he should know, that there are 
discrepancies in the different statements of Michaelis himself. The 
extracts alluded to are given in a subsequent note. Under such 
drcumstsnces the reader will not fail to perceive* that the weight 
of authority is altogether on th^ side of Niebuhr. — Ta. 

. . gg 

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70 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

who had done so much for the sciences, could not send a 
learned man thither by way of Tranquebar? Only he 
must be no missionary nor clergyman. This was a very 
limited plan, which soon expanded itself under BernstorPs 
hands. So far as I recollect, I had to write out a full 
dissertation ; Bernstorf laid it before the king ; the king 
approved of it ; and I was to take the direction of the 
expedition, and propose the traveller. The instructions 
which the king gave the travellers, and which stand be- 
fore my * Questions,' were wholly drawn up by me. 
The selection of a person for the journey, thus unexpect- 
edly referred to me, was at first difficult; but it was 
soon known at Copenhagen, that such a commission had 
been given me ; and thus it happened that Von Haven, 
a native of Copenhagen and a very diligent pupil of mine, 
proposed himself to me for the journey, and that very 
urgently. This occasioned me real embarrassment. I 
could, indeed, scarcely have found any one better quali- 
fied than he ; for he had already made considerable pro- 
gress in Arabic, which was so necessary for the journey, 
and had exercised himself under my guidance in reading 
manuscripts ; he had heard nearly all my courses of lec- 
tures, and especially those on the Bible, in which men- 
tion was so frequently made of what was properly to be 
sought for in the East ; and scarcely any one could be 
better prepared than he, to understand the questions 
which I should propose. Besides, he was a Dane by 
birth, and had family connections of some distinction. 
But I hesitated, from the very first, as to his bodily 
powers ; and it seemed to me, that his physical constitu- 
tion would not sustain the fatigues and hardships of such 
a journey. I represented this to him immediately and 
repeatedly ; but he assured me, that he anticipated no 
danger, and persevered in his purpose, not only with ear- 
nestness, but almost with enthusiasm. There was still 
another peculiar circumstance, which rendered it in a 
manner impossible for me not to propose him. About 
eighteen months before, conceiving himself to have been 
misused by me, he had made use of abusive language to- 
wards me ; after a few months he had repented of this^ 
70 

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APPENDIX. 71 

and had voluntarily and very earnestly asked my pardon 
in writing, and begged permission to attend my lectures 
again ; for he had before threatened, that he would never 
more attend them. What now would have been said of 
me, if under these circumstances I had refused his re- 
quest? I proposed him therefore to Bernstorf ; but yet 
in such a way, as not to leave out of sight my only scru- 
ple, in regard to his health. The proposal was immedi- 
ately approved; and the only further question was, 
whether ariy thing more was necessary for his further 
preparation ? The king had also the generosity to send 
him, if I remember right, a year and a half or two years 
to Rome, in order that he might there make himself be- 
forehand more fully acquainted with the Arabic, than 
was possible here at Gottingen. 

In the mean time, without any co-operation of mine, the 
plan of the journey fortunately expanded itself to a much 
greater extent than I at first had ventured to suggest. I 
had only said, in general, that natural history and geo- 
graphy ought also to be a principal object of the expedi- 
tion. The king, who was ready to bear the expense of 
the whole, directed me, through Bernstorf, to name also 
a traveller in the department of natural history. Here 
the choice was made at once, as soon as the letter was 
opened. I could not find a better man than Forskaal, a 
Swede by birth, who had studied natural history in his 
own country, and become acquainted with the Linnaean 
system ; had been my hearer in all my lectures, and con- 
sequently understood just what a traveller in the East had 
to do ; had made as much progress in Arabic as Von Ha- 
ven when he left Gottingen, and perhaps more ; learned 
easily every thing which he undertook ; was withal a 
greater doubter, and did not believe on light grounds ; 
and who, besides all these qualifications, was a man of firm 
health and undaunted courage. But he had already left 
Gottingen ; and it was somewhat difficult to engage him. 
When I first wrote to him, he was desirous of remaining 
in his own country ; and his father too made objections 
to this distant journey. I wrote to him again, and repre- 
sented to him not only the interesting and encouraging 

71 

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72 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

pirospectd which this journey Opened for him; but also, 
that in conseqoence of what had taken place, he could 
hardly hope for' preferment in his own country. I knew 
already so many of the circumstances, that, my suggestions 
made an impression upon him. He accepted the appoint- 
ment, and that just at the right time.* 

I now received anew the commission to sdect a ma- 
thematician. I soon found a skilful young man ; but he 
became undecided again, and preferred to remain in Han- 
over. Even the minister Miinchhausen, who wished to 
employ him at home, wrote to me, desiring me not to 
urge him.. I gladly left to the service of his own coun- 
try a man, who would have entered upon such a journey 
unwillingly. I now requested Professor Kastner to pro- 
cure some one ; and he proposed Niebuhr, the only one* 
who Survived the journey, and who has described it in so 
masterly a manner. Another fortunate circumstance also 
occurred. I was requested to name the person, to whom 
the money concerns of the expedition might best be en- 
trusted, and I named Niebuhr ; for he had property of 
his own, was a solid, sober young man, and had already 
been, while a student, if I recollect right, the guardian of 
the son of his own former guardian.f 

* The following anecdote of Forskaal is also related by Michaelis, 
Lebensbeschr. p. 66. "I learned Swedish of him, and said to him 
once, that the Swedish Vriheet (freedom) was something wholly 
different from our Freiheit ; in Sweden no one could utter his opi- 
nion aloud, much less print it ; and that was what we called slavery. 
This was under the domination of the so called Huthe. [Two par- 
ties, under the denomination of Huthe and Mutzerif Hats and Caps, at 

this time distracted Sweden Tr.] Our conversation afterwards 

turned very often upon this point. What I said, fell into so good 
a soil, that it bore fruit an hundred fold. After his return to Swe« 
den he attempted to maintain the freedom of the press ; he wrote 
and printed, and that too against the dominant party. This made a 
great noise ; and he lost his hopes of obtaining any preferment in 
Sweden. Indeed it is related, that a person of high standing, hav- 
ing once sharply reprimanded him for his writings, in consequence 
of his persevering contradiction, let fall something about the danger 
of losing his head. * True,' replied Forskaal, * but not now ; * ex- 
hibiting at the same time his appointment from the Danish govern- 
ment to the Arabian expedition, which he had just received." 

f The following extract is from the volume of Questions men- 

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APPENDIX. 73 

Shortly befotr^ the departure of the expedition, it was 
decided to s^ndtwo additional members, a physician, and 
a draughtsman or painter. With the selection of these I 

tioned in the preceding note^ and contains the previous statements 
of Michaelis respecting the origin of the expedition there referred 
to. After recounting the motives which led him to vvish for such 
an expedition, he proceeds in the fqllowing nMumef. (Forrede, p. 
11.)— T». 

*< I ventured to mention something of this in a letter to Count 
Bernstorf, and received immediately a request to make out a more 
complete plan. This was laid before the king, who approved it, 
and directed that I should propose a proper person to undertake 
the journey ; whom, after some years of preparation at his expense, 
he would send to Arabia. 

" It was not prescribed, of what nation he should be ; but my 
joy was doubledf when I found among my pupils a native Dane, who 
had devoted himself to the study of the oriental languages, not from 
any duty or ulterior object, but merely from inclination, and who 
wished to see the East. He knew already what I regarded as the 
deficiencies in our knowledge, which must be there supplied ; and 
I could propose no one, from whom I expected more than from him. 
This was Von Haven ; whom the king ap];^ointed before his depar- 
ture Professor at Copenhagen. He continued here at Gottingen 
for some time, devoting himself to the oriental languages ; but fts 
our still new university was deficient in oriental manuscripts, and he 
consequently could not make here all the preparation necessary for 
such a journey, the king sent him for a time to Rome, in order that 
in the libraries there he might become beforehand more intimately 
acquainted with the East. 

** Hitherto there was still a great deficiency in the proposed ex- 
pedition ; which I indeed perceived, but did not feel the confidence 
to ask that it might be supplied, at the great expense which would 
be necessary. A single learned man, who has devoted himself re- 
gularly to only one branch of the sciences, cannot possibly accom- 
plish so much as a company of learned men, each of whom follows, 
his own branch. In such a company, the natural historian can aid 
the philologian, and vice versa ; and both can assist the mathema- 
tician, and be assisted by him. Von Haven had several times spo- 
ken to me of this, not long after his appointment ; and wished to 
have one companion at least, who should be acquainted with natu- 
ral history. I was finally so bold as to make known this wish also 
to Count Bernstorf ; and the bounty of the Danish king showed that 
I was wrong in not having made it known before. I was directed 
to select and propose a natural historian and a mathematician ; to' 
whom the king proposed also to allow a pension, so as to enable 
them to make preparation for the journey, and among other things 
acquire some knowledge of the Arabic language. 

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74 LIFE OF CARSTEN NIEBUHR. 

had nothing to do, and indeed could not he consulted ; 
for the thing required despatch, and the {>ost to Gottin- 
gen was much interrupted in consequence of the war. A 
painter I could in no case have well procured ; partly he- 
cause I knew nothing of the art, and partly because it did 
not flourish at all in Gottingen. A physician I might per- 
haps have obtained. I need only to mention the name of 
the person to whom my thoughts would have been instant- 
ly turned, Hensler, who was then a student at Gottingen. 
Had he joined the expedition, perhaps some of the de- 
ceased travellers would have remained alive ; and what 
discoveries might not have been expected from such a 
genius ! 

" The mathematician appointed for the journey, and who was 
selected with the help of Professors Mayer and Kastner, is Niebuhr, 
a native of the territory of Bremen, on whom the king bestowed 
the rank of a lieutenant of engineers. He exercised himself farther 
in mathematics under his teachers above mentioned ; and especially 
the late Professor Mayer gave him privately the necessary instruc- 
tion, to enable him to take accurate astronomical observations. The 
little time which remained to Niebuhr from these most necessary 
occupations, he devoted to learning the elements of the Arabic lan- 
guage, which were indispensable to him, if he was to give an ac- 
count of the geography of the countries through which he travelled. 

*' To select a natural historian was more difficult, until I finally 
thought of one, who required no further preparation for the journey. 
This was Professor Forskaal, a Swede by birth. He had been in 
natural history a pupQ <^ Linnaeus. He had afterwards studied the 
oriental languages ut Gottingen, especially the Arabic ; and had 
lived again in Sweden since 1756. He is the same person whose 
dissertation, under the title Duhia de principiis Philosophiae recen- 
tioris, has found so many friends and opponents. I cannot deny, 
that the friendly candour with which in this essay he has contested 
some of my own positions, about which we had often disputed with- 
out coming to any agreement, contributed much to make me wish, 
that he should become a member of this expedition. I knew in 
general, that he did not easily yield belief, without being compelled 
by good reasons, and that he was a lover of the truth ; and his dis- 
sent from my philosophy was to me a pledge, that out of deference 
to my opinions and views he would never suppose himself to hear 
or see any thing in the East, which he did not really hear and see. 

** It was entirely accidental, that the three travellers were of 
three different nations, — a Dane, a German, and a Swede. This 
circumstance, however, was so appropriate to the impartial bounty 
of the king of Denmark, that I may term it fortunate." 

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APPENDIX. 75 

The first project was to sail by the way of the Cape 
of Good Hope to Tranquebar'; and thence undertake 
the journey to Arabia. This plan, however, was happily 
changed. Bernstorf inquired of me, whether I did not 
think the way might be taken over Egypt and the Red 
Sea. I had not ventured to propose this, because it re- 
quired a much greater expense ; but I stated my prefer- 
ence for it, only with the remark, that it was somewhat 
more dangerous. It was adopted ; and thus we have re- 
ceived a charming description of other lands, besides 
Arabia Felix. In another respect also it has been follow- 
ed by important consequences, and has had a great and 
unexpected influence ; which the English have known 
how to improve to good purpose. While Niebuhr was 
at Bombay, some of the English who were there, as he 
himself relates, received from him exact accounts of his 
route across the Red Sea. This was examined anew and 
and tried, probably at first with commercial views ; but 
during the war in which the English were engaged with 
France and Holland, arising out of the American revolu- 
tion, they ipade use of this route to very great advantage, 
in order to transmit intelligence with rapidity to India. 
The French also have since learned the same route. 
The Danes, however, have hitherto derived no advan- 
tage from it ; although they strictly deserved more than 
all the rest. 

Several untoward circumstances conspired to hinder, 
or render difficult, the full accomplishment of all the ob- 
jects of this Arabian expedition. My questions were for- 
warded in manuscript by Bernstorf, as soon as I had writ*- 
ten them, after the travellers to Egypt. Unfortunately, 
however, they did not reach them there, although Bern- 
storf had used the greatest foresight. Niebuhr first re- 
ceived the questions in Bombay, before he returned tq 
Arabia the second time ; and answered them really so far 
as he could ; yea, more indeed than could have been ex- 
pected of him. But the greater part of these questions 
were not strictly intended for him, but for Forskaal and 
Von Haven ; and they never received them. These 

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76 LIFE OF CAR8TEN NIE^UHR. 

too would h»v« undetstood my questions better, because 
they had attended my Ibetures in Hebrew; and knew 
too^ that ^ey wtrer not to ask information of Jews and 
rabbins, but of native and fiiil-l^ooded Arabs. What 
learned Jews say «n many subjects, We know better in 
Europe already ; and those Aaiatic Jews, if they are 
learned, get it from the.European rabbins. Covsequent- 
ly, the utility of my questions was in part lost ; and they 
may perh^^, at a future day, be still better answered by 
other travellers. 

The death of four of the travellers diminished the 
fruits of the expedition. Von Haven, respectitig whom 
I had fears from the first, died ; but Forskaal, for 
whom I had no fears, died also. The painter also died ; 
and likewise the physician, who ought to have set a bet- 
ter example.* For these deaths no one is answerable ; 
but had. ail the travellers lived to return, how much greater 
would have been the . fruits of the journey ! . The loss 
was rendered still greater, by the circumstance that they 
kept no fulL and r^ular journals, as they were required 
to do by their instructions ; relying probably upon their 
memories and the continuance of their lives. Niebuhr 
alone returned ; and he accomplished much more than 
could have been expected of him alone. 

He returned through Gottingen ; and during his stay 
here he related to me orally so much, that I saw already, 
and wrote be£ore-hand to Bernstorf, that he had brought 
back a rich booty from the journey. He would also gladly 
have left me jsome of his manuscripts and drawings, to 
examine at leisure ; but this I declined, and preferred to 
wait till they were published. There was at that time in 
Denmark a party opposed to Bernstorf, which endea- 
voured to cast o(hum upon this expedition ; and even per- 
verted to this emd the return of Niebuhr over Grottin- 
gen. They caused it to be inserted in Swedish joiurnals, 

* Every reader will probably be struck with the leyity and heaK- 
letsness of tbis remark ; but there is only too much reason to sup- 
pose, that it is characteristic of Michaelis. — Tb. 

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APPENDIX. 77 

whkh were circulated in Denmark, that Niebuhr had re- 
turned by way of Gottingen, in order to lay before the 
Acadtmy of Sciences there a report ol his jourpey. This 
was certainly no agreeable compliment for Danish scho- 
lars ; and I therefore felt obliged to /ec^aest him, of my 
own accord, during his stay at Gottingen, not to be too 
liberal towards us. 



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'J/ 



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LIFE 



EMMANUEL KANT. 



BY PROF. STAFFER, 
OF PARIS. 

Translated from the French by P^pf. Hodge* 



EDINBURGa: ^ ' "^ 



THOMAS CLARK, 38, GEORGE STR 




MDCCCXXXVI. 



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JAMES BURNEi;, PRIKTER, 5, SHAKSPEAHE SQCARK. 



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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 



The intimate connection between Philosophy and The- 
ology, and the decided influence which the one has always 
exercised over the other, renders it impossible that those 
who are interested in the history of the latter, should be 
indifferent to that of the former. It is with confidence, 
therefore, that we present our readers with a view, drawn 
by an able hand, of the Philosophy of Kant. The influ- 
ence which this system has had upon religious opinion in 
Germany, is so obvious, that it forms even for the The- 
ologian one of .the most necessary and interesting chap- 
ters in the history of the last half century. It is true 
that this system, reared with so much labour, pronounced 
perfect and indestructible by its author and advocates, 
now lies in ruins. From one end of Germany to the 
other, there is scarcely a man of eminence to be found, 
who will acknowledge himself a disciple of Kant. It is 
in its general influence and in its scattered principles, 
which have worked their way into the public mind, that 
its real effect is now to be sought. The view given of 
this system by Professor Stapfer, is perhaps more favour- 
able, than the pious and distinguished author would, at 
this day, present. He doubtless, however, considers it as 
on the whole the most favourable to religion, and the 
truths of the Gospel, among all the systems which have 
hitherto appeared. But the fact that it has made way 
for, and been at least the indirect means of introducing 
the pantheistical systems of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, 
must create a great distrust as to the soundness of some 
of its fundamental principles. That any evil can arise in 
our country from the principles or writings of Kant, there 
is little reason to apprehend. The obscurity arising from 
its peculiar terminology, which came well nigh consigning 
his system to oblivion, in its native land, would of itself 
constitute no inconsiderable obstacle to its progress. 

NO. XIV. F 81 

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4 INTBODUGTORY REMARKS. 

And besides this, there is such a difference between the 
German and English character, that what is demonstra^ 
tion for the one, (s no proof for the other. The Ger- 
mans say that the English are deficient in profoundness ; 
and the English, the Germans in sound judgment. And 
hence a system which may make great progress among 
the former, may nake none at all among the latter. 
And it would really seem to be a moral impossibility ever 
to make an Englishman (and of course an American) 
profound enough to see the truth or reason of many of 
the systems, more or less prevalent in this country. The 
Englishman is happily, generally willing to stop at the 
first incomprehensible truth which he comes to, without 
attempting to deny or explain it. The German under- 
takes to go further, and explain every difficulty, which 
only results (at least in the opinion of the Englishman) 
in his increasing the number. 

The reader will see a striking illustration of this re- 
mark in what follows. That every effect must have a 
cause, is for Reid, a primary truth : he says, he cannot 
help believing it, the constitution of our nature forcing 
us to admit it. But Kant will explain, and denies that 
this appeal to consciousness, is a sufficient answer to the 
sceptic who denies the truth in question. For this pur- 
pose, he has recourse to a theory, which involves the de- 
nial of what every man, who is not a philosopher, holds 
to be true ; and at last in his turn comes to an ultimate 
fact, which he is forced to admit on its own evidence. 
It is not wonderful, therefore, that Fichte should say to 
Kant, what Kant says to Reid, you have no right to as- 
sume as an ultimate fact, what you cannot prove, you 
cannot stop short in your career, it is the philosopher's 
business to explain every thing. Reid would say that 
the constitution of our nature forces us to believe, that 
external things are not only real existences, but that they 
exist in forms independent of our manner of perceiving 
them. Kant says, this is stopping too soon ; the ultimate 
fact is merely that things exist, their forms are only our 
manner of perception. Fichte says the same to Kant, 
and maintains that the things themselves as well as their 
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INTftODUCTORY REMARKS. 5 

forms exist only in our minds, his ultimate fact is that the 
infinite all-comprehending principle exists, and stops no 
where until he arrives at absolute pantheistical Idealism ; 
and even here, it would seem, that he is on precisely the 
same ground with the Scottish philosopher, whom he has 
left so far behind. For how does he know that the in- 
finite (das Unendliche) the Tav or 6v, or by whatever 
name it may be called, has a real existence ? He can 
certainly give no other answer, than that he cannot help 
believing it, that the constitution of his nature forces him 
to it, that the contrary is absurd ; but this is precisely 
what the i«nphilosophical Reid says at the outset, in be- 
half of common sense. Little danger can be expected 
from any system which calls upon us to deny a fact of 
consciousness ; it is impossible that it should succeed in 
stemming the stream of the whole world. There is 
another safeguard in the English character, against the 
prevalence of systems which of late have had more or 
less sway in Germany, and which may be assumed with- 
out exposing ourselves to the charge of undue national 
partiality, and that is, that the English have greater re- 
verence for moral truth. They prefer being inconse- 
quent, rather than denying the first principles of morals, 
and hence are not likely to admit principles, which have 
led so many German philosophers to maintain that sin is 
not a moral evil, that it is mere limitation, a necessary 
condition, &c. ; and that every thing which is, is morally 
good. No one will suppose, we mean to give a general 
remark, an universal individual application. There are 
thousands of Germans to whom such principles are an 
abhorrence, and there are thousands of Englishmen who 
perhaps would find no difficulty in admitting them. 
Still the characteristic difference exists, and is indeed ad- 
mitted by the Germans themselves. 

The view of the Philosophy of Kant which is here 
presented, is much the most simple and intelligible which 
we have seen, and will easily be understood by an atten- 
tive reader. He may, indeed, take offence at some 
terms, which are used in rather an unusual sense; but 
this difficulty could not well be avoided. The style in 

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O INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 

the original (and much more perhaps in the transkdon) 
is somewhat involved. Professor Stapfer is a native of 
one of the German cantons of Switzerland, and hence 
his French has something of a German character. But 
as his ideas are perspicuous, and have passed completely 
through his own mind, it is hoped, that even under the 
disadvantage of a translation, he will be easily understood. 

BerUuy Feb. 1628. 



The following additional introductory remarks have 
been obligingly communicated to the PubUsher by a 
Gentleman who has long been an ardent admirer and 
student of the writings of \\n!& fcicUe princeps of German 
Metaphysicians, and it is hoped that they will bestow an 
additional interest to the brief narrative which follows. 



The amazement into which Sir haac Newton's Disco- 
veries threw the learned world as soon as it was able to 
comprehend them, sufficiently shews what little concep- 
tion mankind had, that his natural faculties could rise so 
high, and spread so wide. 

What Sir Isaac accomplished in physics, a century 
later, Kant achieved in ethics. Continental scholars 
saw with equal amazement and delight, morals cleared 
of the rubbish of the schools, and clothed for the first 
time in the strict simplicity of a rigidly scientific dress. 
But the agreeable surprise was even greater than before, 
as it had been long a current though most mistaken no- 
tion, that the domain of ethic was perfectly inscrutable 
by the unaided powers of man. This benumbing doc- 
trine, which had obtained during the benighted period of 
the dark ages, was at once disgraced on the appearance of 
the stupendous discovery of the autonomy of the will, 
where the moral law was seen to be unfolded from the 
Nature of the Will, and its obligatory force upheld on 

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INTBODUCTORY REMARKS. 7 

the simple, though paramount authority of naked Reason. 
For this discovery — announced in 1783 — Kant had pre- 
pared the way by a preliminary Inquiry into the a priori 
operations of the human understanding, Critik der rei- 
nen Verrwmft^ first published in 1781. In this Inquiry 
he confutes and overthrows every previous system of 
metaphysical philosophy, from Plato, down to Hume : 
and indeed all previous metaphysic bears about the 
same relation to Kant's system, as the dreams of the al- 
chemist to the beautiful chemistry of Sir Humphrey 
Davy, or as the Ptolemaic cycles and epicycles to the 
Subastral oeconomy treated of by Newton. In the very 
outset of this disquisition, Kant begins by flooring Locke 
and Spinoza: advancing farther, he handles with as 
little ceremony Aristotle, Hume, and Berkeley : in the 
next chapter the aerial structures of Plato are demolish- 
ed : and in the next again, the philosophemes of Leibnitz 
and his followers are utterly exploded. The work con- 
cludes by sweeping down the whole of the scholastic 
cobweb, woven by many a generation of Doctors Subtile 
and Seraphic, and given out, as good solid manufacture, 
under the name of Ontology, Psychology, Cosmology 
and Theology. Of these four pretended and abortive 
sciences, Kant made a full end. The main character of 
the Critik der reinen Vermmfty is therefore negative. 
By it Kant only clears and breaks up the ground to 
which he intended to entrust the good seed of his own 
metaphysic. 

But the work was not at first understood by the learn- 
ed. This Kant immediately perceived from the absurd 
Reviews, brought out at Gottingen and elsewhere : he 
therefore threw the Critique into another shape ; and in 
1 783 published what is virtually the same work, under 
the name of Metaphysical Prolegomena. By this 
time he was ready with his Ethic, and simultaneously 
with the Prolegomena, laid before his countrymen the 
Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Ethics. This contained 
the positive result of his long and laborious thinking ; 
and the reader who would have been daunted and deter- 
red by the uninteresting nature of the mere negative re- 

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8 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 

suit, was now as powerfully attracted by the dazzling and 
wonderful announcement, that the Human Will is, — as is 
the Will of every Intelh'gent throughout the Universe — 
AUTONOMIC and autocratic. 

The extraordinary success of the Groundwork, and the 
attention it received, were no mof e than what was justly 
due to the importance of the investigation, and the radi- 
ant brightness of its truth. The Groundwork, in shorty 
was neither more nor less than an Inquiry into the su- 
preme principle of morality, and answers for the first time 
the momentous question, on which all former moralists 
had stranded, — Upon what ground has the moral 

LAW its ethical VIRTUE TO OBLIGE THE WILL ? The 

solution of this question is given in the third and last 
chapter of the Groundwork, disclosing by the way — andas it 
were quite unawares — the most unexpected and astounding 
vistas into the surpassing excellence and majesty of the 
human soul. Every body was transported with the 
magnificence of the doctrine of the self-legislation of 
his own Will : and as no one can at any time become 
sated with contemplating the glory of the Law, so nei- 
ther could he with admiring the borrowed glory of the 
system which revealed it. The whole literary world 
became converts to the theory of Autonomy : and 
Europe once more saw, what for two thousand years had 
been unwitnessed — a philosophic school arise in Germany, 
similar to the schools of Sages who formerly figured in 
Greece. In every part of Germany, there immediately 
appeared disciples, who, by necessary consequence, were 
also the defenders of the self-legislative system. 
These young men explained, commented, translated into 
Latin, and supported the Critik and Groundwork : 
so that from 1783 till 1804, the period of Kant.'& death, his 
school reigned exclusively throughout the whole Protes- 
tant continent. The extreme popularity of the new sc hool 
called forth many bitter adversaries, and long and hot 
the metaphysic controversy raged during the close of the 
last century, betwixt the Kantists and the Antikantists. 
Garve, and other professors of moral philosophy, had to 
fight for their daily bread. They ran the risk of being 

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INTRODCGTORY REMARKS. 9 

starved to death ; their lecture-rooms being deserted, as 
no student would listen to their effeminate and shallow 
ethic Ganre, Eberhard, and Herder endeavoured to 
explode Kant's system, and undertook the mad attempt 
of shewing that all his philosophy was known before, and 
was in fact a mere rifacdamento of Stoical, Aristotelian, 
or Platonic ethics. In this way the old systems were 
ransacked and stormed with the most indefatigable zeal. 
Most exceUent translations of Cicero's Offices, and of Aris- 
totle's Nicbomachian Ethics, were produced by Garve, with 
notes and preliminary dissertations, intended to overturn 
the Autonomy. Generally speaking, more light was thrown 
on the old heathen systems of mordity, and more books 
brought out on moral philosophy, in that brief space of 
twenty years, than probably had ever been since the 
world began. But all these attempts were vain. In 
1786, Kant pursued the investigation he had opened in 
the Groundwork, by the celebrated Inquiry into the 
a priori operations of the Will, (Critik der praktischen 
Venmnft^) where, with the same gigantic energy, he 
blasts and dashes all former systems of moral philosophy, 
in the same way as in the Dissertation on the Under- 
standing he utterly overthrew and ruined all hitherto 
existing systems of speculative metaphysic. His Inquiry 
re-examines the long-lost problem of the Summum Bonum, 
and contains a treatise of the most refined and wonderful 
beauty on — the Emotion Reverence — ^the Ethical dpriori 
spring of the will. This investigation into the relation 
obtaining betwixt the moral law and the feelings of the 
human heart, is beyond all doubt the most interesting and 
fascinating part of our author's immortal work. In 1796 
the Metaphysic of Ethic was completed, but bears, alas ! 
too obvious traces of the great age of the venerable writer. 
These three books, however, contain an entire ethical 
system ; on these, Kant's fame rests; and these alone ex- 
hibit the PROPER and positive results of his research. 

It is an opinion very currently received, that Kant's 
system is on the wane, or has been already superseded 
by the later theories of Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and 
Herbart. This is certainly a mistake, if we may judge 

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10 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 

from the continued demand for new editions of his Cri- 
tiques, and also for the ExplanatcHry Commentary of one 
of his most distinguished pupils. Both the speculative 
and practical Critique have reached a setfenth edition: 
bearing in mind the extreme abstruseness of those works 
— a re-publication of his main writings every seven years 
for the last half century, indicates any thing but a decUne» 
and shews that Kant's books have maintained their dia- 
racter, notwithstanding the pretensions of those rival 
schools. But, in fact, Kant's discoveries can never pass 
away. The natural philosophy now taught, may not be 
prelected on, from the Principia, as a text-book : and the 
demonstrations given, may perhaps not be altogether 
those of Sir Isaac : but still the science taught is funda- 
mentally his. In exactly the same way, the lecturer on 
moral philosophy may not speak of the ^< Groundwork^ 
— ^he may discard the word Autonomy : but still, his 
£thic, where true, is at bottom Kant's, and there is little 
doubt that those schools which affect to ape that of Kant, 
are mere parasitical off-shoots which live on the inbred 
vigour of the old gnarled oak which they disfigure and 
obscure. Very strong langiiage has again and again been 
used by the Kantists when tallung of those later pretend- 
ed systems; and not without justice. They have de- 
nounced, with great bitterness, the whole modem fry of 
Pantheists as Whirlheads ; but this is now no longer 
needful : the later schools are all rapidly returning to 
that nothing, whence they ought never to have sprung. 

The following view of the philosophy of Kant, is by 
many regarded as the most simple and intelligible that 
can be offered to the notice of the student: but the 
writer of the present notice feels it necessary to say, that 
in his opinion, Professor Stapfer neither understood nor 
believed in, the system. However, as a Life of Kant, it is 
curious ; and there are many striking incidents interspersr- 
ed, which make the memoir well worthy of perusal. 

Edinburgh^ Dec. 1835. 

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LIFE 



EMMANUEL KANT. 



Emmanuel Kant, founder of the philosophical school in 
Germany, which succeeded that of Leibnitz, was born at 
Koenigsberg, in Prussia, the 22d of April, 1724, and 
died in the same city, at nearly the age of eighty years, 
the 12th of February, 1804. If it be true, that the 
greater part of the philosophical doctrines which have 
formed epochs in the history of the human mind, bear 
the impress of the character and habits of their authors, 
even in the abstract principles upon which they are found- 
ed, it is fortunate for the appreciation of the philosophy 
of Kant, that the calm unvaried life of the philosopher of 
Koenigsberg, has been described with greater care, than 
the brilliant and agitated course of many of the most ce- 
lebrated men of modern times. Messrs. Hasse,* Borow- 
ski,f Wasianski,j; and Jachmann,§ all intimate friends of 
Kant, have published memoirs of their colleague or mas- 

* Letzte Aeusserungen Kant's von einem seiner Tischgenossen, 
Koenigsberg. 1804, in 8vo. 

f View of the Life and Character of Kant, revised and corrected 
by Kant himself. Ibid, in Svo.^-German. 

J Emmanuel Kant in the last years of his life, by E. A. Ch. Wa- 
sianski, (his private secretary and table companion.) Ibid, in 
8vo — German. 

§ Letters to a friend, respecting Emmanuel Kant. Ibid. 8to. 

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12 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

ter, written with candour and simplicity, which merit 
more confidence than the compilation of an anonymous 
author,* or the fragmentsf of a biography of Kant, print- 
ed during his life, and under his own eyes. His family 
was originally Scotch, a curious circumstance, if we con- 
sider, that it is to the writings of Hume that we are in- 
debted for the system of Kant. His fether (a saddler, 
estimated for his tried integrity) and his mother animated 
by the strictest sentiments of piety, confirmed in him, by 
their precepts and examples, that confidence in virtue, 
which pervades in the highest degree, his system of mo- 
rals. His father held all falsehood in abhorrence, and his 
mother, severe towards herself, required of her children 
the most scrupulous performance of their duties ; and it 
is to her influence, that Kant attributes the inflexibility 
of his principles, which aided him in the discovery of the 
absolute rule of moral virtue, by the analysis of the phe- 
nomena of the moral sense, and led him to supply new 
supports to the hopes of religion. " I never," says he, 
" saw nor heard in my father's family any thing inconsis- 
tent with honour, propriety or truth." The favourable 
influence which such models exercised over his principles 
and life, no doubt contributed powerfully to penetrate 
him with the conviction, that the only means truly effi- 
cacious, of giving to the moral sense its proper develope- 
ment and force, is to impress upon men constantly the 
sanctity of moral obligation, and to confine all practical 
instruction to the object of inculcating its maxims without 
abatement, and presenting its image and precepts in all 
their severity, without soiling their purity, or weakening 
their force, by the alloy of vain rewards, or of a corrupt 

• Emmanuel Kant's Biography, 2 vols. 8vo. Leipzig, 1804. The 
last two volumes which should complete this work have never ap- 
peared. This compilation is not destitute of merit, it contains in- 
, teresting anecdotes drawn from the relations of travellers and from 
letters of persons who lived with the philosopher who is the subject 
of the work. 

t Fragmente aus Kants Leben, Koenigsburg, 1802. The article 
Kant in the Pm»se littercdre of the abbe Denina (vol. II. page 305 
et seq.) abounds in errors and omissions. 

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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. IS 

emulation. What, tended to confirm the opinion of Kant, 
as to the efficacy of this method, was his aversion to false- 
hood, which he inherited from his father, and which mani- 
fests itself in the principles and details of his system of 
morals. Every thing in man is connected, joined by some 
secret link. There is no question, but that the disposi- 
tion of which we speak, was both the source and support 
of his love of truth, and that Kant thence derived at once, 
the courage to sound in all its extent the appalling abyss, 
which the scepticism of Hume had opened under the 
foundations of all human knowledge, and not to despair 
of being able to establish upon a surer basis, the shaken 
edifice. 

But let us resume the consideration of Kant, at the 
time in which his parents committed him to the higher 
schools, furnished with a virtuous disposition, and consci- 
entious principles. His academical life offers nothing but 
the peaceful course of severe, systematic, and persevering 
studies, embracing without apparent predilection, all the 
branches of knowledge which form the key of the practi- 
cal sciences. — Languages, history, the mathematical and 
natural sciences, occupied, successively, his attention. 
He carried into each department of this extensive field, 
that scrutinizing spirit, and that avidity for knowledge, 
which give no rest to the mind, until it has explored the 
whole surface of the ground and examined its nature, 
sounded its depth, ascertained the limits of the portion 
already cultivated, and determined what yet remains to 
be accomplished. Fellow-student of Ruhnkenius, audi- 
tor of the mathematician Martin Knutzen, of the natural 
philosopher Teske, gf the theologian Schultz, professors 
more learned than celebrated, Kant fulfilled, by his varied 
and profound studies, one of the conditions of the task 
which his genius imposed upon him ; that of reducing to 
one central point, to certain fundamental principles, the 
mass of human sciences, of arranging and classifying them, 
of founding and connecting them, with a view of facilitat- 
ing their acquisition, examination, and ^application. The 
moment seemed to have arrived, which called for another 
Aristotle, who should reconstruct the edifice of human 

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14 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

knowledge upon a more extended plan. None of the 
metaphysical systems which divided thinking men, could 
satisfy this desire of unity, which the human reason so 
imperiously demands, and which the philosopher of whom 
we are speaking, has shown, has such an intimate connec- 
tion with the essence of this faculty. The anarchy which 
reigned in the schools hitherto dominant, gave renewed 
force to this desire. If the victorious manner in which 
Locke had comhatted the doctrine of innate ideas ; if the 
brilliant success which had crowned the researches of 
the disciples of Newton, and sanctioned the experimental 
method of Bacon, had progressively diminished the num- 
ber of the adherents of the philosophy of Leibnitz, and 
thrown all metaphysics into discredit, especially all sys- 
tems founded on a priori principles ; the doctrine of 
Locke became in its tuni the object of a distrust con- 
stantly increasing, and at last of the most decided repro- 
bation, in the eyes of all men of talents and virtue, when 
it was seen, that the writers in France, who professed 
this philosophy, betrayed in their best efforts, its insuffi- 
ciency for the classification of the human sciences, and 
introduced into morals, principles of materialism and self- 
ishness, which degrade our nature, and which are rejected 
with disdain at the bar of conscience : whilst in the na- 
tive country of Locke, consequences drawn from his prin- 
ciples with unquestionable justice, led Priestley to fatalism, 
and Hume to opinions destructive of all certainty. Such 
was the state of philosophy when Kant, by the vast ex- 
tent of his plan of studies, was acquiring the means of 
presenting himself as judge of the most abstruse contro- 
versies, and mediator between the philosophical parties. 
The history of his labours is that of his life. His literary 
activity, which presents to his biographer the only events 
he has to record, embraces more than half a century, and 
may be divided into two distinct portions. To the first, 
in which he was preparing himself to act the part of the 
founder of a new schoof, belong the numerous and varied 
works, which he published between 1746 and 1781, when 
th^ Critic of pwe Reason appeared. It was by these 
works, that, so to speak, he established his mission as the 
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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 15 

reformer of philosophy and the founder of a new system, 
as to the origin of human knowledge ; and prepared the 
thinking public to receive with deference, and examine 
with respectful attention, his new analysis of the human 
faculties. The second period of Kant's literary career 
commences with 1781, and comprehends the writings in 
which he has presented, developed, and defended, the 
various parts of his doctrines, and terminates only a short 
period before his death. With a view to save space, we 
will reserve for a review of the works of Kant, the men- 
tion of those which were printed during the first period ; 
and will confine ourselves here, to what may serve to ex- 
plain the formation of his system and to present some 
general idea of its character. Certain hints furnished by 
himself * compared with those of his metaphysical treati- 
ses which belong to the first period, especially a Latin 
dissertation as early as 1770, which contains the embryo 
of all his doctrines, will be our guides in endeavouring tq 
trace the progress of thought, which conducted him to the 
fundamental idea of his theory. Bringing to the consider- 
ation of the problems of the higher metaphysics, the de- 
termination of examining every thing without prejudice, 
and with the desire of submitting to nothing but evidence, 
decided above all to adopt nothing merely on the autho- 
rity of others, he was, no doubt, supported in this difficult 
task, by confidence in his own resources, and by the con- 
viction that he could, if necessary, open a new way, and 
discover new supports for the old and indestructible interests 
of man, if the ancient foundations should appear to him 
insufficient. But may he not have presumed too much 
upon his strength ? May he not have paid himself, and 
made perhaps a whole generation pay too dearly for his 
confidence in human reason, and especially his confidence 
in his own ? Of all the reproaches that can be made 
against the Philosopher of Koenigsberg, that of being 
urged to reconstruct the system of metaphysics by a love 

* In a work entitled, Prolegomena to all Metaphysics which would 
rise to the rank of a science. See also the earliest of all his meta- 
physical writings. Principiorum primorum cognitionis metaphysicce 
nova dilucedatio, 1755, in 4to. 

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16 UFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

of novelty, or the ambition of shining as the head of a 
sect, would be the most unjust and the best contradicted 
by facts. To exhaust the examination of all previous at- 
tempts, before commencing a new one ; to render to each 
©f his predecessors entire justice, in assigning to each 
the acknowledgments due for his labours ; to present 
clearly those views of the truth of which we are indebted 
to each for the discovery ; to mature during a whole life, 
ideas, of which the originality alone, would place their 
author in the rank of the most profound thinkers ; and to 
neglect, in finally committing them to the public, every 
thing which could serve to render them attractive ; is 
certainly not the part of a rash innovator, and much less 
of a Charlatan, or of a man actuated merely by ambition. 
That which, at an early period, peculiarly struck the 
mind of Kant, was the marked contrast between the ri- 
gorously scientific form, in which, from the very infancy 
of the efiForts of speculative reason, the science of logic 
had come from the hands of Aristotle, and the vacillating 
«ncertain gait, which all other philosophical doctrines at 
every period of their history, have constantly exhibited, 
in their principles, methods, and results. Why has this 
section alone of the theory of the mind, assumed from 
tlje first, a march so firm, that it can be compared to no- 
thing but that of geometry, since the days of Euclid ? 
The forms to which the activity of the mind is subjected, 
when we consider the course of its acts in the formation 
of a judgment, or of a syllogism, detached from its object 
of application, forms, of which no man in his senses, has 
ever questioned, either the existence or authority in the 
whole range of human thought, since Aristotle has shown 
that they invariably regulate the operations of the mind in 
the formation of a proposition or act of reasoning ; may 
not these forms, viewed in another aspect, be the laws 
which we believe to be drawn from the observation of na- 
ture, whilst it is we ourselves who impose them, so that 
nature, as far as her phenomena are concerned, is realjy by 
their means our own work ? These laws of the understand- 
ing, may they not be simply the order prescribed to the 
processes carried on in the laboratory where human know- 
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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 17 

ledge is formed ? May they not be as a cement which binds 
our preceptions into one body of experience ? In other 
words, may we not here see the means given to the un- 
derstanding, for seizing on its impressions, converting 
them into a kind of intellectual possession, and investing 
them with a character, ^thout which they would remain 
mere sterile and transitory modifications, without which 
they would not, in fact, really belong to us, and which 
alone can raise them to the dignity of conceptions, of no- 
tions, and of knowledge, real and important ? This con- 
jecture tended at once, to create a veritable ontology 
from the materials furnished by logic, and to erase meta- 
physics from the number of the sciences, or at least to 
banish to the regions of chimera, that which had hitherto 
borne the name. Although, in reviewing the earlier 
works of Kant, we perceive some traces of this idea in 
ijiore than one of them ; it is, neverthelessMpirtain, that 
the hypothesis of a radical identity between Sie principles 
whence the logician derives his precepts, with the prinOT- 
dial laws which ontology assumes the right of prescrfSftig 
to the whole assemblage of objects submitted to our per- 
ceptions, did not at first present itself to the mind of 
Kant, in any other light than that of a plausible approxi- 
mation, of a conjecture worthy of some attention, but by 
no means in all its importance and in all the extent of its 
bearings. It was by the lurid light of the torch of Hume, 
that he perceived of a sudden, both the one and the 
other ; it was the theory of the Philosopher of Edinburgh, 
on the origin of the notions of cause and effect, which 
produced this idea in Kant, in presenting it to him, in its 
dev elopement, at once, as the sole counterpoise to a scep- 
ticism destructive of all human certainty, of all connection 
between our perceptions, of all confidence in the results 
of the operations of our own faculties, and the only means 
of reconciling what the systems of Locke and Leibnitz 
offer, that is useful for the solution of the most important 
problems of metaphysics. A reformation of philosophy 
Avas desired as much by upright and virtuous minds, as by 
the speculative spirits of the age. If, on the one hand, 
the desolating and degrading doctrines of Hume and 

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18 LIFE OF EMMANUEL RANT. 

Helvetius had revealed the inevitable tendency of the 
doctrines of Locke, when their defenders had penetration 
enough to discover, and courage enough to avow all the 
consequences of their premises ; on the other hand, the 
efforts of such men as Baumgarten, Lambert, and Men- 
delssohn, had proved the impossibility of adopting the 
theory of Leibnitz, to the new wants of the intellectual 
and moral state of enlightened Europe. 

The author of this article, should he attempt to reduce 
within the compass of a few pages, the exhibition of one 
of the most extensive pictures which the history of the 
human mind presents, would only be able to glance at a 
multitude of subjects without any instruction for his 
readers: he conceives it to be more useful to confine 
himself to the illustration of the main point, the genera- 
"tibn of the fundamental principle of the Critical philoso- 
phy. In order to render this point intelligible, it is ne- 
cessary for us to review the sceptical arguments of Hume, 
on the relation of cause and effect, or the principle of 
causality, as they are presented in the 4th, 5th, and 7th 
section of his Inquiry concerning the Human Understand- 
ing. It was these, to use his own words, which interrupt- 
ed the dogmatic slumbers of Kant.* As this is the car- 
dinal point with which every thing original in the views 
of Kant is connected, the reader who consults this arti- 
cle, not merely for the sake of some biographical or lite- 
rary notices, but to form some distinct idea of the causes 
of Kant's metaphysical reformation, and of the .true foun- 
dation of his doctrine, will not be displeased at the ex- 
tent we are about to give to our exposition of the reflec- 
tions, which led to the formation of his system. The 
substance of them is as follows : — " When two events 
succeed each other, or in other words, when the percep- 
tion of the one succeeds the perception of the other, in 
our consciousness; if we imagine to ourselves that the 
second could not have existed, had not the first preceded 
it, we are immediately struck with the idea of a cause. 
Whence do we obtain it ? Is it given to us toith the per- 

* Prolegomena to all Metaphysics, preface and parag. 14 — 30. 

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LIFE OP EMMANUEL KANT. 19 

ception itself of these events ? Locke and all the adher- 
ents of his analysis of the human faculties, in answering 
this question in the affirmative, never imagined, until 
Hume, that their opinion tended — ^to destroy the cer- 
tainty of the axiom, that every event must have a cause 
—to deprive it of its characteristics of necessity and uni- 
versality, and thus destroy, in its very foundation, all hu- 
man knowledge, which rests on its application. Hume 
distinguished hetween necessary connection, and natural 
connection or junction ; he denied that it was possible to 
discover any real connection between the cause and the 
effect. The effect, he says, we recognize as an event, 
distinct from that regarded as the cause, but in the latter 
we in no way perceive the germ of the former, we see 
merely the sequence of events regarded as cause and ef- 
fect, (for example, a ball set in motion, on being struck 
by another ; or the arm raised after a volition,) their con- 
nection neither is nor can be a matter of perception. If 
then, prior to, and independently of experience, the no- 
tion of that which is a cause, does not include the idea of 
efficiency, it is clear that the idea of causality can only 
be derived from experience, which can produce nothing 
more than the expectation of the probable sequence of 
two events, and not the idea of necessary connection, that 
is, of a connection which would involve a contradiction to 
admit the contrary."* . Reid,"!" one of the most zealous 
and able adversaries of Hume's theories, candidly admits 
the truth of this observation': " Experience," he says, 
" gives us no information of what is necessary, or of what 
otight to exist. We learn from experience what is or has 
heeUy and we thence conclude with greater or less proba- 
bility, what will be, under similar circumstances, (for ex- 
ample, we beHeve that the stars will rise to-morrow in 
the east and set in the west,* as they have done from the 
beginning of the world ;) but in regard to what must ne- 
cessarily exist, experience is perfectly silent ; (no one 

* See Inquiry concerning the Human Understanding, IV. 1. 

f Essay on the Active Powers of Man, Edinburgh, 178«, in 4to. 
p. 31. Essay I, ch. 4, and Essay IV. ch. 2, page 279, also Essay YI. 
ch. 6^ on the Intellectaal Powers of Man. 

NO. XIV. G Cmr^nW 

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20 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

foefieves the impossibility of the sun's having been 
made to rise in the west, or that the Creator could not 
have made the revolution of our globe from east to west.) 
Thus, when experience has constantly taught us that 
every change observed by us is the production of a cause, 
this leads us reasonably to believe that such will be the 
case in future, but gives us no right to affirm that it must 
be so and cannot be otherwise." This is an important 
concession, and decisive of the fate of Locke's doctrine. 
Yet, neither Reid, nor any of the philosophers opposed 
to Hume, were aware of the importance of the admissions 
which the sceptic had wrested from them, or of the im- 
possibility of resisting his attacks, if they assumed the posi- 
tions occupied by the schools of Locke and Leibnitz. — 
By what right do we affirm that no change can occur 
without a cause ? If we confine ourselves to maintaining 
that all the changes presented to our observation, as w^ 
those which are attributed to an act of our will, as those 
which occur without us, have all had their efficient cause, 
our assertion may justify itself by our own experience or 
that of others. If we appeal to the intimate persuasion 
which we have, that no event will occur to conteadict this 
experience, no one will condemn an expectation so rea- 
sonable. But this expectation, is it solely the result of 
an induction founded upon experience ? Kant affirms 
not. Induction, says he, (and here is the generating idea 
of his system,) induction, whatever generalizing virtue we 
may attribute to it ; induction, however large the base we 
assign to it, however numerous may be the facts furnished 
by my activity or external perception for its support 5 in- 
duction could never found an expectation, which would 
pretend to justify itself at the tribunal of reason, nor pro- 
duce that sentiment of irresistible conviction with which 
we yield ourselves to this expectation, without being able 
to imagine to ourselves the possibility that it should ever 
be deceived. If this sentiment be a matter of conscious- 
ness ; if it manifest itself in the earliest infancy with the 
force and tenacity of an old habit ; if in announcing the 
proposition, that every event must have a cattse, we have 
the certainty of its truth in all the cases which could have 
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LIFB OF BMMANUEL KANT. 21 

occurred before our birth, or can yet occur in the course 
of ages, it is the business of the philosopher to explain 
how we have acquired this conviction. If without at- 
tempting to demonstrate it, he admits it as a primitive 
fact, as the Scottish school have done, this is very well; 
he at least does not give the lie to his own consciousness ; 
the only result is, that there is a gap in his analysis of the 
human faculties, which is not sufficiently thorough, and 
fails to accomplish the conditions it had to fulfil. But if 
the author of this analysis, in boasting that he furnishes 
the means of accounting for the fact in question, far from 
explaining it, not only renders it impossible to conceive, 
but proposes a solution which is in direct opposition with 
some of the principal terms of the problem, it is evident, 
that by denying a fact of consciousness, he pronounces 
condemnation on his own explanatory hypothesis. This 
was the case with Hume, who, having adopted and deve^ 
loped the principles of Locke, availed himself of them to 
invalidate the doctrine o{ the n^icient reason^ which, it is 
true, Leibnitz but feebly supported, but which he at least 
left it in all its integrity as a matter of intuitive percep- 
tion. The relation of cause and e£fect, says Hume, ex- 
ists in no way in the things or events which we observe ; 
we do not derive the idea from experience ; in two suc- 
cessive events, there is absolutely nothing in the one 
which can be called cause, or in the other, effect. From 
this observation, which is as just as it is acute, the Scot- 
tish philosopher drew the fair conclusion, that this bond 
of causality which we establish between things, is an oper- 
ation of our own minds, and proceeds solely from our- 
selves. Until this point, Hume advances with Kant, sup- 
ported by incontestable facts and arguments. But here 
they separate. Wishing to explain whence arose this 
operation of our minds, which establishes the law of cau- 
sality between different events, instead of searching for 
the ground of this operation in the nature of the mind it- 
self, (which would have led him to the path pursued by 
Kant,) he thought he found it in the activity of the ima- 
gination, which places in real and necessary connection, 
what we have constantly seen united ; and in the luibtt 

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22 LIFB OF KHMANVEL KANT. 

which arises from this repeated association, of platdng 
events which succeed each other, m the relation of mu- 
tual dependence, or of cause and effect. The insufficiency 
of this sokitiott could not escape Kant. How can piro- 
positions which the moment they are proposed to the 
mind, strike it with an irresistible conviction, be referred 
to the same origin with those, which we conditionally 
adopt, an the authority of experience, with the express 
reserve that we will abandon them, the moment an op- 
posite experience occurs to contradict them ? The mind 
rejects every idea of the possibiHty of an exception ever 
occurring, which can set limits to the universal appUcatioR 
of propositions of the former class, (such as geometric^ 
truths,) wWle those which rest on experience, although it 
be repeated a million times, can never have any thing 
more than a conditional or hypothetical certainty, expos- 
ed to the chances of future experiences, which may com- 
pletely disprove them. (For example, in affirming thai 
every organized being must die, that all wood is combus- 
tible, we do not pretend to maintain that it is contrary to 
reason, to suppose that an organized being may one day 
be discovered which escapes death by a periodical reno- 
vation, or that some species of plant may not be found 
which can resist the influence of fire, as combustible min- 
erals have been discovered; we merely mean to affirm, 
what is the result of observations hitherto made, and the 
belief that no experience will occur to contradict this re- 
sult.) Kant was not slow in observing, that the arguments 
of Hume against the objective reality, (that is, really ex- 
isting in the objects) of the principle of causality, were 
applicable to a multitude of our judgments on things, 
which we adopt with entire conviction, although the ele- 
ments of which these judgments are composed, are not to 
be found in the things themselves. Such are all the pro- 
positions of pure mathematics, those which form the 
foundations of physics, of ontology, of logic ; in a word, 
all such as have the characteristics o^ absolute universality 
and necessity, must have some other source than the im- 
pressions made by the objects. Hume saw nothing in 
experience, but an assemblage of isolated perceptions, 

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UFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 23 

voiked in groupes by the imaginatioii and memory. Kant, 
in separating, in eiiperience, the elements differing in 
their natnre and origin, was carei^ not to consider ex- 
perience and the understanding as contrary and hetero- 
geneous, as Hume had done : but considering the under- 
standing and perceptions, as things opposed, he recognis- 
ed, that it was from thek concurrence, under the mediating 
influence of an indefinable self-consciousness, that experi- 
euce is produced ; that the understanding is the artificer 
of experience, our intuitions the materiak, and that the 
instmments, laws of arrangement, or rules of construction, 
are identical with the modes of operation to which our 
intellectual faculties are subjected in their exercise. It 
is easy now to understand why Kant stated, in his prin- 
cipal work, the grand problem which he undertook to solve, 
in terms which have so often been accused of obscurity ; 
JBow -are s^nihHical a priori Judgments possible f Stfn- 
thesis is composition. A synthetical judgment,. therefore. 
Is one of which the terms, not mutually including each 
other, cannot, by analysis, be drawn the one from the 
other. We have seen, that according to Kant, there are 
propositions in which we attribute to external things, cer- 
tain manners of existence, of which the idea is not com- 
municated to us with or by the impression of these ob- 
jects upon our sensibility, or (according to Kant's phrase- 
ology,) rectptkdty^ we consequently add to this impression, 
which we derive from without, forms and conceptions 
which we dn&w from oiur own resources, and which pro- 
ceed from the bosom of our own intellectual being. 
Thus, in the proposition, everif event must have a ca/ase 
end produce cm ^ect ,* we may exhaust on the idea of 
the subject (L e. we fact^ the given events that which oc- 
cwrs) the resources of the most profound analysis, we 
may examine as long as we please, we will never find in 
the idea of something which happens, either the idea of 
some other thing which must have necessarily preceded 
it, or something which must necessarily follow. There 
is then an addition made to the idea of the subject. But 
this attribute, this additional element, which adds to the 
other term of the proposition a quality which was not in 

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24 LIFE OF SMMANUEr. RANT. 

it, do we derive it from experience? Certainly not, if 
there be any justice in the argmnents of Kant* Shnilar 
propositions are the following : " A straight Mne is the 
shortest distance between any two points ; God exists ; 
the world is finite ; the soul is immortal ; every thing in 
nature is connected ; all the accidents whidi we perceive 
and which are susceptible of change, must be attributes 
of something which supports them and which does not 
change, that is, of a substance :" there is in all these an 
amalgam (synthesis) of a subject with an attribute which is 
neither derived from the idea of the subject nor from ex- 
perience ; and the judgments derived from this combina- 
tion, are judgments a priori, that is, judgments indepen- 
dent of experience, judgments into which enter as ele- 
ments, acts of faculties anterior to all experience and 
necessary to its formation. 

Let us imagine a mirror endued with perception, or 
sensible that external objects are reflected from its sur- 
face ; let us suppose it reflecting on the phenomena 
which it offers to a spectator and to itself. If it come to 
discover the properties which render it capable of pro- 
ducing these phenomena, it would find itself in possession 
of two kinds of ideas, perfectly distinct. It would have 
a knowledge of the images which it reflects, and of the 
properties which it must have possessed previous to the 
production of these images. The former would be its 
a posteriori knowledge ; whilst, in saying to itself, " my 
surface is plain, it is polished, I am impenetrable to the 
rays of light," it would show itself possessed of a priori 
notions, since these properties, which it would recognise 
as inherent in its structure, are more ancient than any 
image reflected from its surface, and are the conditions 
to which are attached the faculty of forming images, with 
which it would know itself endowed. Let us push this 
extravagant fiction a little further. Let us imi^ne, that 
the mirror represented to itself, that external objects are 
entirely destitute of depth, that they are all placed upon 
the same plane, that they traverse each other, as the 
images do upon its surface, &c., and we shall have an ex- 
ample of objective reality attributed to modifications 
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UF^ OF EMMANUEL KANT. 25 

purely subjectiTe. And, if we can figure to ourselves 
the mirror as analysing and combining in various ways, 
the properties with which it perceived itself invested ; 
(but of which it should have contented itself, to establish 
the existence and examine the use ;) drawing from these 
comlnnatioBS conclusions relative to the organization, de- 
sign, and origin of the objects which paint themselves on 
its surfM^e ; founding, it may be, entire systems upon the 
conjectures which the analysis of its properties might sug- 
gest, and which it might suppose itself capable of apply- 
ing to an use entirely estranged from their nature and 
design ; we should have some idea of the grounds and 
tendency of the reproaches which the author of the cri- 
tical phUosopby, addresses to human reason, when for- 
getting, the veritable destination of its laws and of those 
of the other intellectual faculties ; — a destination which 
is limited to the acquisition and perfecting of experience, 
it employs these laws to the investigation of objects be- 
yond the domain of experience, and assumes the right of 
affirming on their existence, of examining their qualities, 
and determiaii^ th^ relations to man. 

We hope that we have rendered intelligible, how the 
p^losopher of Koenigsberg, in generalizing the objec- 
tions wnich Hume had directed solely against the autho- 
rity of the law of causation, and in extending them to all 
those universal propositions, without which our percep- 
tions could not be organized into a body of experience, 
and which are the foundation of our knowledge, was led 
to demand of himself ; is it possible to prove the truth 
of a priori synthetical judgments ? We have seen how, 
in searching for the solution of this problem, he found 
himself led to examine the foundations of our knowledge, 
and sound the depths of our intellectual bang. The 
first step which Kant took into a career, entirely new for 
the human mind, brought him to a point which presented 
to him universal and absolute propositions, in a new Ught. 
Not proceeding from the objects observed, mmy they not 
emanate from the observer himself? Struck with the 
harmony, rigour, and absolutely unalterable authority of 
the laws, which rfffulate the operations of the mindy (and 

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26 LIFE OF EMMANUEL RANT. 

of which the code proceeded from the hands of Aristotle, 
so admirably arranged, that after-ages have only spoiled 
his work, in pretending to enrich and improve it,) he 
conceived this important idea : viz. the mode of activity 
to which the understanding is restrained, in the formation 
of the notions of genus and species, of judgments, of syl- 
logisms, categorical, hypothetical, disjunctive, kc^ may 
be the very source of the ordering influence which we 
exercise over the impressions we receive from external 
objects ; the laws, in virtue of which the different judg- 
ments developed in the works of lo^c, are formed, are they 
not the very laws, according to which the mind becomes 
possessed of individual objects by intuition, reduces them 
to matters of knowledge, and binds our perceptions of 
them into a body of experience ? in a word, the laws of 
the mind, are the laws of thcl phenomenal world. 

This idea, which a man, merely ingenious, would have 
rejected at first riew as extravagant, presented itself to 
the penetrating and extensive mind of Kant, in all its 
importance, and in all its fruitfulness of resources, for the 
perfecting of philosophy. The 'moment it presented it- 
self clearly to his view, he conceived the hope of under- 
taking with more success than his predecessors, the se- 
paration of what is purely subfedwe in our knowledge, 
from what is objective. From this moment he saw him- 
self called to effect in the speculative sciences, the revo- 
lution which his illustrious countryman, the Prussian 
Copernicus, had produced in the natural sciences ; a pa- 
rallel which presented itself to Kant's own mind, and 
which, as peculiarly adapted to characterize his philoso- 
phical reformation, deserves, for an instant, to fix our at- 
tention. What was the ancient definition of truth, the 
object of all metaphysical theories ? Truth, it was said, 
is the agreement of our representations with the things 
represented. But how establish this agreement? how 
shall we ascertain that it actually exists ? Aristotle and 
Locke on the one side ; Plato, Descartes, and Leibnitz 
on the other, mark out different routes,' and pursue dif- 
ferent methods.- The former search in our sensations 
the faithful image of the object, and study the impresaon 
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LIFB OF EMMANUEL KANT. 2? 

to discover there the truth, and as it were, seize it in the 
fact ; their rivals on the other hand, address themselves 
to the thinking being itself, and dare to interrogate the 
divinity to obtain thence authentic information, as to the 
essence of things and their veritable qualities. But 
whatever may be the difference of their results, that of 
their methods is more apparent than real. They all 
commence with the object to arrive at the subject ; even 
when they appear to occupy themselves in the first in- 
stance, with the latter it is only so £ar as it is itself the 
object, and in its absolute quahties, that they regard it ; 
it IS not its faculty of knowledge which they examine to 
appreciate its laws and its reach. They all commence 
with demanding — ^what are things? and afterwards en- 
deavour to determine what man can know of them. 
Kant reversed the order of the questions : he undertook 
to form, in the first place, a just idea of man, in so far as 
he is endowed with the faculty of knowledge, and thence 
to conclude, what the things, in which man is himself in- 
cluded, can, or ought to be, and will be, in consequence 
of the organization of this faculty, for a being which is 
restrained to its employment when it wishes to arrive at 
a knowledge of external things. We see that the course 
here pursued, is exactly opposed to that taken by the 
philosophers who preceded Kant. It is no longer *man, 
who is modified by the impressions of external objects — 
his thoughts are not cast into their moulds and do not 
follow the undulations of their movements, either in vir- 
tue of their direct influence, or of the will of their su- 
preme director : it is the objects themselves which are 
cast into the moulds of the human intellect, which incor- 
porates them into the system of its knowledge, in im- 
pressing upon them its seal. — In assuming this ground, 
we must renounce the common definition of truth ; we 
can no longer seek it in the agreement of the representa- 
tion with the thing represented, but in the agreement 
which must reign between the phenomena, submitted to 
our observation and bound in the system of our know- 
ledge, and the fundamental laws of our intellectual facul- 
ties : — ^the truth will no more appear to us to be the ex- 

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^8 LIFB OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

act outline of the objects, than the head of Antinous is 
the exact image of the wax which has received its imprea- 
aoB* We will no longer revolve around the objects, by 
making ourselves their centre, we. make them revive 
around us. This is the Copemican reformation. To 
contest the originality of the views of the founder of the 
new school, it is tiot sufficient to prove that some seep- 
tics» idealists,, metaphysicians of the greatest celebrity 
have, before Kant, ascribed a lai^e part of the qualities 
which we refer to external objects, to the character of 
our organs and of our minds, and should, therefore^ be 
regarded as the defenders of the subjunctive origin of 
our knowledge. There is no doubt that Plato, Descar- 
tes, Pascal,* and d'Alembert, appear, each according to 
his peculiar views, to have had some glimpse of the new 
carew which Kant has opened to the philosophical miad. 
But did they enter on this career themselves ? Who 
ever thinks of ascribing the honour of the system of at-* 
traction to the authors, who appear to have had some no-* 
tion of it before Newton ? And it should be regarded, 
that Kant has not produced a new epoch by merely pre^ 
senting the idea, that in our representations of external 
things, there is mingled with the impression received 
from without, that of our mode of receiving it. It is foif 
having undertaken to determine with precision, what 
part, in all our sensations, perceptions, propositions, arises 
from our manner of feelings perceiving and judging : — ^it 
is for having attempted to deduce from certain primitive 
facts, accurately observed and thoroughly analysed, the 
intellectual mechanism which constitutes the organization 
of our faculty of knowledge: for having founded upon 
this analysis a theory of the operfition of the springs of 
thought : for having assigned to each of our faculties, its 
proper limits, it rights, and its range : fini^Ay, it is for 
having fixed the limits of the jurisdiction of each, and 
above all, the value of our title to the acquisitions or 

* Pascal says, ** Au lieu de recevoir les idees des choses en nous, 
nous teignoBS des qualites de notre etre, tonteB les choses que nous 
conteoiploiu. 
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LITB OF EMMANUEL KANT. 29 

conquests, which reason has ever boasted of having madb 
in the regions removed beyond the reach of our senses, 
that Kant may justly be presented as the author of the 
first system of philosophy, really critiealy wUch has ever 
appeared. The result of this critiei^n is by no meaas 
fjivourable to the ancient pretensions of this presumptu- 
ous reason. Kant demands that it should renounce its 
barren excursions and imaginary conquests: he showa 
that the circumscribed soil of experience, is the sole do* 
main to which it can attain, or whm'e it has the right of 
exercising its powers, and that the cultivation of tins soil, 
is the legitimate sphere of its activity and limit of its ef- 
forts. This is a process served on reason at her own tri* 
bunal. Such is the main idea and the general tendency 
of Kant's philosophical reformation. We now see, who 
Bxcited this reform — ^how it arose in the mind of ila» 
author — ^why he has given his philosophy the name erdi- 
caly and for what reasons his disciples call it the JhmuU 
philosophy. 

We confine ourselves to giving an expoadtion of the 
results of Kant's system, and refer our French readers, 
who have not the opportunity of studying this philosophy 
in the writings of its author, and who may wish to form 
an idea of it, more developed, to the works of M M. Vil^ 
lers, * Gerands, f and Buhle. | They will read with 

* Pkilotophie de Kant, oh Piincipes fondamentaux delaphUoso- 
phie transcendantdUt Metz, 1801, in 8vo. The author neyer re- 
nounced the idea of treating in a second part, and to greater ex- 
tent, subjects which he had not suflBciently developed in the first 
part. A premature death prevented the accomplishment of this 
design, and of other useful projects, — among others, that of putting 
a finishing hand to an article on Kaot, which he had prepared for 
the Biographic Universelle, but with which he was not satisfied, and 
therefore desired that it should be returned to him. He had com- 
mitted that charge to him who has the grief of 8up\)lying his place 
in the execution of this task, without being able to submit the wovk 
to his inspection. 

f Histoire comparee des systemes de philosophic, relativement 
aux principes des connaissances humaines, 3 vol. Svo. Paris, 1804; 
torn. II. ch. i6y p. 157—253, et torn. III. ch. 13, p. 506—561. 

X Histoire de la philosophic modeme, depuis le renaissance dM 
lettres jusqu'a Kant, par J. G. Bnhle, traduit de raUemand, par 

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30 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

pleasure also the ingenious outline which Madame de 
Stael has giVen of this system** 

The reflections which we have retraced, having led 
Kant, to give a different foundation to human knowledge, 
from any which his predecessors had laid, and to shake 
the confidence which they had placed in certain proceed- 
ings of ^eculative reason, as though they were adapted 
to elevate us to the knowledge of objects, beyond the 
territory of experience, he saw himself called to solve, 
agreeably to his own principles, and in a manner satisfac- 
tory to all our moral necessities, the three problems. 
What am I able to know? What am I bound to do ? 
What ofin I authorized to hope ? 

In order to separate from our real knowledge, the illu- 
sions which we associate with it, to determine what hold 
our faculty of knowledge has upon the invisible world, he 
commenced by submitting to the most rigorous examina- 
tion, the instrument by which men construct their sys- 
tems, that by which he thinks, combines, and reasons ; 
in a word, his organ for the acquisition of knowledge, 
which one of his French interpreters has called orga/ne 
cognitif. How do our intellectual faculties, transform as 
well the impressions coming from without, as the action 
of the mind upon itself into knowledge, real, useful, and 
sufficient for our wants ? Do the objects which do not 
act upon our senses, come within the range ? From his 
examination, the most patient and the most profound of 
which the annals of philosophy can boast, there resulted 
for him who undertook it, the fullest conviction, that our 
faculty of knowledge is solely given to us for the forma- 
tion of experience : that in passing the bounds of experi- 
ence it forgets its rights and abuses its powers : that spe- 
culative reason, notwithstanding the elevated rank which 
it holds among our intellectual faculties, is invested with 
no peculiar prerogative, with regard to the sphere of its 

A. J. L. Jourdan, 1817, in 8yo. See the interesting articles of 
M. Cousin, on this work, inserted in the Archives Philo9ophiques» 
for July and Aug., 1817. ' 

* De TAllemagne, 1814, torn. IIL ch. 8, and eh. 14. 
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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 31 

exercise : and consequently that the most suhlime as well 
as most ancient subjects of investigation and philosophical 
doubts ; Gody liberty ^ and immortality^ are beyond its 
jurisdiction and its grasp. Having thus placed these 
great and only true interests of man, in security from the 
attacks of reason, Kant transported them to a territory^ 
which, according to him, is inaccessible to speculative ob- 
jections, and which offers for the truths of religion ah 
immoveable foundation. When he had finished his la- 
bours in reference to metaphysics and morals, he wrought 
over all the doctrines which borrow their principles from 
philosophy ; the theory of our ideas of the sublime and 
beautiful, that of the arts which propose to realize these 
ideas, natural theology, morals applied to the relations of 
society, to legislation and pubtic rights. We now pro- 
ceed to state the contents of his principal works, which 
may be considered as the essential and systematic parts 
of his course of philosophy. 

I. Critic of Pure Reasouy — (in 8vo. Riga, 1781 ; 2nd 
edition, ibid. 1787) with important additions, but at the 
same time with such retrenchments as render it necessary 
still to consult the former.) The title signifies, examina- 
tion of the faculty of knowledge^ of the powers which con- 
cur in its exercise, of their laws, of the play of their ope- 
rations, and of the effects thence resulting for man, rela- 
tively to the impressions which he receives, to the judg- 
ments which he makes, to the conceptions which he 
forms, and to the ideas to which reason elevates itself. 
The epithet, pure^ which Kant has here given to reason, 
that is, to the intellectual processes of which knowledge 
is the result, implies merely that he considers it in itself 
and in the forms inherent in the faculty of knowledge 
independently of that which constitutes the matter of our 
knowledge. This matter, are the impressions which ob- 
jects ma£e upon us. These impressions are then con- 
sidered, classed, ordered, combined ; that is, submitted 
to the operation of thought, which forms them into con- 
ceptions. These impressions offer a multiplicity, a stuff, 
a varium^ which the understanding reduces to unity. 
This reduction to unity, embraces either the totality, or 

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32 LIFE OF BMMANUBL KAKT. 

a part move or less constderable of the impression ; in 
the former case, is formed a representation of an indivi- 
dual object, whilst in the second, the partial reduction to 
unity gives rise to abstract notions, to the conceptions of 
species and genus. Conceptions are in their turn sub- 
mitted to a superior faculty, which compares and com- 
•bines them, and forms of them conclusions, notions of 
indefinite connection, ideas. The power of knowing, or 
•organ of knowledge, is thus composed of three distinct 
faculties ; 1st, Sensibility^ which receives the impressions 
and changes them into intuitions. The functions of this 
faculty include an active and a passive element. The in- 
fluence exercised by external objects, supposes in the 
subject, an latitude of being modified by this influence, 
and the power of re-acting on the impression ; a recepH- 
vity and a spontaneity* Sensation is passive ; it calls 
^ forth the lowest exercise of our activity ; it excites intui- 
tion, which is a production of spontaneity, in its lowest 
degree. The receptivity is then, an aptitude for receiv- 
ing a sensation which furnishes the materials of a repre- 
sentation, a multiplicity, a varium: the spontaneity is 
the power of reducing this multiplicity, this varium to 
unity. We see, therefore, .that th^ receptivity is only 
one of the powers which form the sensibility ; it receives 
from external things, or from the modifications of the 
soul, an impression, which produces a reaction of the 
spontaneity. From the concurrence of these two func- 
tions, from the access given to the impression which fur- 
nishes the material, the varium ; and from our activity, 
which produces the unity, arises the representation, or 
consciousness of the thing represented. 

2d, The understanding, which forms conceptions, is 
the spontaneity exercised in a higher degree, the reduc- 
tion of several intuitions, to unity at the same time. 

3d, Reason, properly so called, (the spontaneity raised 
to its highest power,) forms condusions by the reduc«tion 
of several conceptions to unity, and ideas, in the strict 
sense, by adding to the conceptions of the understanding, 
the notions of the infinite and absolute. Each of these 
faculties has its laws, to which it is restricted in its exer- 
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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 33 

cises, and which constitute its nature. To the sensibility 
belong time and space, which are the general conditions 
of all our perceptions, the frames in which all objects 
must be enclosed before they can enter within the sphere 
of our faculty of knowledge. This hypothesb, so strange 
at first sight, resolves the difficulties, which Kant regards 
fts inexplicable in other systems. Without this, it is im- 
possible to account for the character of necessity impress- 
ed upon all the notions derived from time and space — 
or understand how it is, that the most abstract idea, can- 
not disengage itself from their envelope, nor the most 
vigorous flight of thought, free the smallest portion of 
our essence from them. Upon pure space and time, that 
is, upon the a priori intuition of the forms inherent in 
our sensibility, anterior to all impressions, external or in- 
ternal, are founded the mathematical sciences ; — upon the 
pure notion of space, the certainty of geometrical propo- 
sitions; — on the pure notion of time, the science of 
arithmetic. 

The understanding operates in the same manner, ac- 
cording to its own laws, which Kant calls categories, (in 
a different sense from that in which Aristotle has em- 
ployed this term,) and of which he has established twelve, 
divided into four classes. Under that of quantity, are 
included,—!. Umty. 2. Plurality. 3. Totality. Un- 
der quaUty, — 4. J^frmation, or reality, 5. Negation, or 
privation. 6. Limitation. The class of relation in- 
cludes the correlative notions, — 7. of substance and acci- 
dent ; 8. of catueUity, or law of cause and effect ; 9* of 
community, or law of action and reaction. Finally, un- 
det the rubric of modality, are ranged the categories, — 
10. of possibility and impossibility ; 1 1. of existence and 
non-existence ; 12. of necessity and contingency. What- 
ever may be the object, which we perceive, if it is to en- 
ter into the series of our knowledge, we must apply to it 
at least four of these categories at once, taken in the four 
different classes. All our conceptions, all our judgments, 
are subject to the same law. 

Finally, the forms of reason, which unites and com- 
bines the conceptions elaborated by the understanding, 

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34 LIFE OT EMMANUEL KANT. 

forms, which Kant calls, ideas pure, are — ^the idea of ab- 
solute unity or of simple being, (idee psychohgique ;J 
the idea of absolute totality, (idee cosmologimte ;) the 
idea of absolute reality, of the first cause, (idee theolo^ 
gique.) These ideas, in Kant's system, have no other 
power and no other object, than to excite man not to 
stop at proximate causes, but perseveringly to mount, 
without interruption, from link to link, to those the most 
remote, indefinitely to prolong the chain, to extend con- 
stantly his observations and researches, and never to 
think them suflSciently complete, nor ever to ima^ne that 
the whole is sufficiently connected and vast, or its appli- 
cation sufficiently useful and varied. Here some of the 
most distinguished of Kant's disciples leave him. Instead 
of attributing to a necessity of reason, the operations by 
which man assumes an internal unity or the sovl, an ex- 
ternal unity or matter, and rises to the ahsolute unity 
which is the foundation of all that is contingent, they see 
in the nption of the absolute, a veritable perception, and 
suppose that reason perceives the absolute, the funda- 
mental being, the real and primitive principle of all phe- 
nomena, as soon as she perceives the reMive and varia- 
ble, that is to say, the phenomena. Instead of content- 
ing themselves with the human and subjective reality, 
which Kant has assigned to man, as his patrimony, they 
wish to penetrate to the field, which, according to Kant's 
principles, is interdicted ground. Hence the strict adhe- 
rents to his principles reproach the schools of Fichte and 
Schelling, with forgetting the limits which the critical 
philosophy had established, and with restoring to specu- 
lative reason, her confidence in those ambitious efforts 
and transcendental conquests, of which, according to 
them, criticism had demonstrated the vanity and folly : 
— ^for if we admit, they say, the analysis of the intellec- 
tual faculties, as contsuned in Kaftt's system, to be cor- 
rect, the fundamental principles of which are adopted by 
the authors of the new hypothesis themselves, it is clear 
that the sole result which can. arise from the exercise of 
these faculties, is a world of appearances, of phenomena, 
which is entirely .subjective, and of which it is impossible 
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LIFE OF XMMANtJEL KANT. 35 

to say, whether it resembles in any maiiaer the real 
world of Mngif in ihem^elves^ (that is, considered abso* 
lutely and independently of our manner of perceiving 
them,) a world) which we have no means of perceiving 
what it really is. We receive from it impressions ; but 
these imj^essions received by the sensitive faculty, clothe 
themselves with its forms, space, and time, and become 
objects extended, bodies, &c. The forms have, without 
doubt, reality ^/or tM, and the things really ^/&r tw, receive 
their impress. As a seal which could not find itself in 
contact with wax, without leaving there the impresdon of 
the head of Minerva, could never see the wax under any 
other form than that of a substance, presenting on its 
surface the head of Minerva. But if the seal should 
imagine that the wax could not exist in any other form ; 
if the mirror should imagine that the objects which it 
reflects are destitute of depth ; if the cvlindvical mirror 
should imagine that they all had an oval figure, prodigi- 
ously elongated ; they would all commit the manifest 
error, of confounding a reality subjective and phenome- 
nal, with a reality objective and absolute. These im- 
pressions, clothed with the form which proceeds from our 
sensibility — the understanding, so to speak, — remodels ; 
it submits them to its own peculiar general laws, and 
presents them to us, as bound together by the law of 
cause and effect, or action and re-action, or by other 
laws, comprised under the twelve categories. It would 
be a great error to suppose, that these active faculties, 
which, according to Kant, are innate dispo^tions, origin- 
ally inherent in our organ of knowledge, resemble the 
innate ideas of Plato and Descartes, or those which 
Locke imagined for the sake of combatting. The man- 
ner in which Leibnitz, in his Nouveaux JEssais, has un- 
derstood them, alone approaches to the pure, and active 
forms of Kant. Speculative or theoreuc reason, finally, 
taking possession of the impresdons as modified by the 
understanding, and presenting them to us (by the aid of 
the notion of the infinite, drawn from its own forms of 
activity) as absolute realities, or an absolute whole, ele- 
vates them to the rank of id^fos^ in the sense in which 
NO. XIV. H 113 

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36 LIFE OF SMMAKOKL KANT. 

Plato uses this w<nrd, and whidi Kant has restored to it. 
Id this system, reason adds nothing to the impressioDs, 
absolutely nothing, which can furnish us with materials 
for throwing a bridge over the gulph, between the world 
subjective and phenomenal, and the objective world, or 
the things as they are in themselves. In endeavouring 
to clear this gulph by a transcendental flight, she con- 
sumes her strength in vain efforts ; and iu complaining of 
being attached to senses of perceptions, which fetter her 
endeavours, she offers, to use a simile of Kant, the image 
of a bird, which complains of the reastance of the ele- 
ment which supports him, and imagines that he could fly 
much better in a vacuum. 

Kant having given to the pure and subjective laws, of 
our faculty of knowledge, and the researches of which 
they are the object, the epithet transcendental, his phi- 
losophy has received the name of the transcendental 
Philosophy. We here close our outline of this system, 
as it is presented by its author in the Critic of Pure 
Reason, a work exhibiting perhaps more of boldness, 
profoundness, and independence than any other effort of 
the human mind. We see, that the object of this philo- 
sophy is to examine the possibility, the nature and the 
limits of our knowledge, and its result is to represent this 
knowledge as absolutely and immutably confined to the 
domain of sensible perceptions. Illusion and error com- 
mence as soon as we pretend to apply this subjective 
manner of perception to objects, as they are in them- 
selves. Kant compares the domain which it is possible 
for us to know and cultivate, to an island, smiling and 
fertile, but surrounded by a stormy and rocky ocean. 
If theoretic reason, instead of confining her efforts and 
pretensions to aid our other cognitive faculties, in well 
exploring and cultivating this insular habitation, wish to 
direct its flight on the wings of her pure ideas to other 
regions ; if she imagine herself skilful enough to traverse 
this stormy ocean which surrounds the circumscribed 
abode, which has been assigned to man by his Creator, 
she finds nothing but chimeras and dangers, and wastes, 
in vain attempts, the time she ought to have employed 

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MPE OF BMMANUEL KANT. 37 

in exciting the faculties of observation and conception, 
and in aiding their labour, which is alone productive, be- 
eause it is directed to objects accessible to the senses. 

To this main work, two other writings of Kant are 
nearly related. 

II. ProlegmnemL^ or Preliminai*y Treatise to nil Me- 
taphysics^ which can hereafter* pretend to the name^ of 
science, 1783, (this is the Critic re-wrought and exposed 
analytically,) and Metaphysical Principles of Naiv/raX 
PhUosophy, 1786. 

III. Critic of Practical Reason, (1 vol. 8vo. Riga, 
1 787>) that is to say, examination of the proceedings and 
rights of reason, in so far as she exercises a legislative 
authority over the domain of moral liberty. In this 
work, Kant points out the only thing, which it is given 
to man to perceive, in its essence, such as it is in itself, 
— and which thus becomes the link which binds him to 
the invisible world ; this is consciousness of a moral law, 
the august and mysterious source of the sense of duty. 
As including certain absolute principles, which regulate 
the will and actions of men, Kant has given it the name 
oi practical reason* In this sanctuary of his moral being, 
man recognizes at once that he is free, that is, that he 
possesses a will free from all necessity, and which consti- 
tutes him a moral agent, responsible for his actions. In 
this sentiment, where the soul is in contact with itself, 
where it is at once object and subject, man recognizes two 
primary laws, which announce themselves as regulators 
of his will, one which urges him to seek his own happi- 
ness, and the other which imperatively commands him to 
do good, to be virtuous without restriction, and even at 
expense of happiness. This law, which binds the being, 
endowed with reason, to good, is, in the last analysis, the 
principle of generalization, which forms the foundation of 
all syllogistic proceedings, but which, without real autho- 
rity, in reference to the intellectual powers, exercises le- 
gitimately, its sovereign power in the sphere of moral ac- 
tions. Kant calls it the categorical imperative, and ex- 
presses it by the following formula : " Regard constantly, 
the intelligent being as his own proper object, and never 

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38 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

as a means for the ends of others ;" and by this : '^ Act 
always in such a manner, that your immediate motive 
might be made an universal rule in a legislation, obliga- 
tory upon all intelligent beings." — (See Critic of Practi- 
cal Reason, § 7» p. M.) These principles are called^/ormo/ 
practical laws, because they are not founded upon expe- 
rience, and because they do not propose to the will, any 
material object ; that is, any enjoyment, connected with 
the impressions of external things, or nlodifications of the 
soul itself. The general' rule obligatory for the will, is 
but the application of the form of reason, to human ac- 
tions. This form consists m the desire of absolute unity, 
and in the faculty of subordinating every thing to it ; 
hence, reason, in exercising its normal power, prescribes 
to the will to realize unity in all its resolutions ; that is 
to say, to take no account of affections, tastes, wishes, 
advantages, interests, and wants of the sensible nature, or 
peculiar position of intelligent beings ; in a word, not to 
abandon itself to the influence of material principles, 
(drawn from external impressions,) but to conform itself^^ 
in its determinations, to the views which are in accordance 
with the interests of all beings endowed with reason, and 
which might serve for universal legislative principles. 
Reason then presents her own form, to the will, as the 
only motive for its decision, truly moral, and becomes 
piraxitical in making the will adopt her principle of unity, 
as the prevalent rule of its free actions. As the physical 
organization of man is one of the conditions to which is 
attached the developement of his consciousness ; the ac- 
tivity of his intellectual powers, and exercise of the func- 
tions of practical reason ; the art by which reason reveals 
to man the existence of the absolute moral law, should be 
regarded as a promulgation of this law, by the author of 
our organization, and as a manifestation of his will. 
With respect to the other fundamental law of active 
beings, that which prompts them to the search of happi- 
ness, Kant bids us observe, that the secret voice of con- 
science announces the virtuous being as alone worthy of 
happiness, and he calls the sovereign good, the state of 
felicity, where virtue and happiness are united in the 
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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 39 

same subject But as, in the present state of things, 
these two fundamental laws of the sensitive and moral 
being,' are in constant opposition, and as it too often hap- 
pens, that virtue and happiness are united in very unequal 
proportions, Kant thence argues the necessity of an- 
other life where these laws will be equally satined, and 
as an immediate corollary, the necessity of the existence 
of a judge, omniscient and almighty, who will assign to 
each his due portion of happiness. In order to complete 
our notice of the more important considerations, which 
establish the indissoluble union of moral and religious 
principles in the system of criticism ; it is necessary to 
state here, their result in favour of the continued exist- 
ence of the moral being, founded upon the task of pro- 
gressive advance to perception, which his practical reason 
imperiously imposes upon him, but which he can never 
fully accomplish, whatever may be his efforts or the ex- 
tent of his career. It is by these views, that Kant has 
placed the court of conscience beyond the attacks of so- 
phistry ; that he makes the certainty of the immortality 
of the soul, and existence of God, result immediately 
from the constitution of our nature, by founding this cer- 
tainty, not on science or demonstration, but on the ne- 
cessity of accomplishing the moral law. 

The developement of the principles, upon which the 
Critic qfPrticticcU RecLSon rests, and their application to 
various branches of morals, are the object of two other 
works of Kant, entitled: Basis of a Metaphysics ofMo^ 
rals, 1784, and, Metaphysicai Principles of ike Doctrine 
or Theory of Virtue, 1797. The principles of the Kant- « 
ian morak, have been exposed with a great deal of clear- 
ness, and combatted, with candour and impartiality, by 
C. Garve, in his Review of the Principal System of Mo- 
rals, Breslaw, 1798, (page 183-394.) This examina- 
tion, written in the closing period of a distressing malady, 
which terminated the life of one of the most distinguished 
moralists of modem times, is dedicated to Kant himself. 

IV. Critic <f Judgment, (one vol. 8vo. Liban, 1790.) 
tt is by the raculty of judgment, that we judge of all 
kinds of agreement and proportion, and consequently of 

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40 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT* 

the accordance of means with their end ; of final causes ; 
of the agreement of laws, and things in the universe ^ 
of the conformity of actions^ with the rules of what is 
right and proper ; of the degree of pleasure or pain which^ 
attends our sensations and sentiments, which is nothing 
more than the degree of their harmony, or discordance 
with the play of our organs, — the developement of our 
vital energy, — and with the functions of all our powers^ 
favoured or disturbed in their exercise, by these sensa- 
tions and sentiments. Finally, the sublime and the beau- 
tiful, in nature and in the arts, come, in the system of 
criticism, under the cognizance of the faculty of judg- 
ment, a faculty which is at once speculative and practic^ 
which partakes of the two powers, with which Kant com- 
mences his labour of analysis, and of which it is the bond 
and the supplement. Its laws and active forms, are ex- 
posed in the Critic of Judgment, The introduction to 
this work, presents more clearly the ensemble of Kant's 
philosophical views, than any other of his writings, and 
better exhibits that mutual connection of his doctrinesy 
which he has been accused of having never established. 
There is one part of the Critic of Judgment, which, not-;- 
withstanding its novelty, has obtained the suffirages of the 
most decided enemies (^ Kant's doctrines ; this is his 
theory of taste,, and his analysis of the sentiments, which 
it is the object of the arts to awake. In order to pro- 
duce the sentiment of beauty, the object must, by its ac- 
tion on the sensibility, put the imagination in play, in 
such a manner as to produce a spontaneous accord be- 
tween its exercise, and a rule of the understanding. 
When this accord does not take place, the understauding 
exerts itself to constrain the imagination to conform to 
the rule ; this is the case, whenever the imagination con- 
curs in the formation of a conception, and finds itself for 
the accomplishment of this object, subjected to the un- 
derstanding. The unexpected discovery of this agree- 
ment, by producing the consciousness of the primitive 
harmony established between these two powers, is, ac- 
cording to this theory, the source of the pleasure excited 
by beauty, and which is connected with a feeling of ele- 

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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 41 

vation, since all easy and harmonious exercise of various 
faculties, increases the confidence which we delight to 
place in the wisdom and stability of our organization. 
The elements of which Kant composes the sentiment of 
sublimity, are of a more exalted character. Its source is 
the concurrence of the imagination and reason, exercising 
themselves by turns, and with unequal success, on a sub- 
ject of unlimited grandeur. The imagination first, en- 
deavouring to compass the object, and obliged to re- 
nounce its efforts, with the painful sense of its impotence, 
produces the consciousness of the feebleness of our powers,- 
and appeals for succour to the faculty, for conceiving the 
infinite : this faculty is reason : her exercise awakens the 
consciousness of our moral dignity : and the intelligent 
being raising itself with energy against the discourage- 
ment which threatens to seize it, places the nobleness of 
its nature in the balance against the objects which ap- 
peared to insnh its feelings, and coming out victorious 
from a comparison which had commenced by humiliating 
it, soars in the consciousness of its mysterious powers, 
above the gigantic images, whose overwhelming dimen- 
sions seemed ready to annihilate it. 

y. Religion in accord mthRecLsoriy (Koenigsberg, 1793,. 
second edition enlarged, 1794, in 8vo.) Religion, consi- 
dered in the subject, is, according to Kant, nothing else 
than the performance of duties, regarded as divine laws. 
From his analysis of practical reason, combined with the 
knowledge of man, such as he manifests himself by his 
actions, and such as he has made himself, he deduces a 
system of doctrine entirely conformed to Protestant or- 
tnodoxy. There is in man, he says, a principle of evil 
inherent in his nature, although not originally an essential 
part of it. The principle and type of good, which is in- 
separable from his reason, and is graven in the very na- 
ture of this faculty, proves that there was a primitive stato 
more noble and better suited to the original relations of 
subordination, established between this power, and the 
motives of his will, whilst the undeniable existence of evil 
and universal perversity proves the fall and the degrada- 
tion of man. The good principle is to triumph over the 

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42 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

evil, and regsin its legttknate ascendeney, by means of a' 
moral association of men, Ibmied for this pnrpose, inrok- 
ing tbe drrtne co-operatkiD, mecessarj for the accomplish- 
ment of their object. The fomider of this moral society, 
formed under the prot^tion of a l^isktor, who wished 
to establish the reign of the good principle, is Jesns of 
Nazareth. He is, in himself, the Ideal of hnman perfec- 
tion, clothed in a hnman form. He presents humanity, 
as it must be, to obtain the favour of Crod : it is only so 
far as we believe in him, and conform om* wiMs to his, 
and thus gradually realize in ourselves^ by constant efbrts, 
some faint image of his virtues, that we can find accep- 
tance, and hope for a more happy destiny, than that 
which, in justice, we have merited. It is Uius that Kant 
has established the harmony, and so to ^eak, the identity 
of reason and religion, the necessity of redemption for 
the restoration of man, and of a religious commumty of- 
fering upon earth an image, more and more faithfal, of 
the city of God. Garve, who was exceedingly displeased 
with Kant for having renovated and restored the cM Pro- 
testant orthodoxy, (see p. 319 of the second voL of his 
letters to Cn. Fx. Weisse,) is obliged to confess that 
there reigns throughout this Es^sUion of Rational Beli- 
giorif a sagacity, a knowledge of human nature, and aa 
amiability which charmed him, (Ibid. p. 332.) These 
qualities are indeed the characteristics of Kant as a man 
and a moralist. When we reflect on the course of rea- 
soning in his work on religion ; his frequent assertions 
that reason alone can give us no certainty as to the se- 
verity or indulgence with which God will treat the viola- 
tors of his law ; that he could not conceive how man, with- 
out extraordinary divine asastance, can restore to the good 
principle, the ascendancy over his actions, and the exclu- 
sive authority which it has lost ; that no one can prove, either 
the impossibility or improbability of a revelation : when we 
reflect on these opinions, so eminently favourable to the idea 
of the intervention of God, as directing and seconding the 
moral education of man, we are astonished and i^cted 
to find in certain parts of this work, and everywhere in 
the memories of his friends, his repugnance to iidmit the 

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UFB OF EMMANUEL KANT. 43 

superBattunl or^n of Christianity. Mf. Borowski is po- 
saAve, as to this p€»ik, (page 195-202 ;) and yet it is to 
him Kaitt addressed a letter, in which, speaking of a pa- 
rallel between bis system of morals, and that of Jesus, 
which Mr. Borowski was bold enough to make, in a work 
submitted to his insj^tion, before its publication^ he ex- 
presses a kind of rebgious horror at the sight of his name 
in connection with that of Christ. He begged his Mend 
ikot to publish this work, or if he did, he charged him not 
to let that parallel remain — << one of those names (that 
before which the heavens bow) is sacred, whilst the other 
is only that of a poor scholar, endeavouring to explain, to 
the best of his abilities, the teachings of his master,^ (pa- 
ges 7 and 86 of the work quoted above.) The inconse- 
(|uence into which Kant has fallen in a point so essential, 
is not the only one which may be remarked in the opi<i 
nionsof one of the strictest lc«kians who have ever exist* 
ed» In his Critic of Pure Keeuon he refuses all force 
to the physico-theological argument, for the existence of 
God : the whole tendency of his system demanded this 
refusal from him. Yet, in conversation, he praised, in 
the highest terms, the teleolo^c^ argument, and spoke 
freely of final causes and their utility in religion. One 
day, he was heard suddenly to excisiam^ Tkere is a God! 
and then forcibly develope the evidence of this truth 
which nature everywhere presents, (Hasse, 1. c. p. 26.) 
On the 2d of June, 1803, a short time before his death, 
the celebrated orientalist, J. G. Hasse, a man of talents, 
and his intimate friend, asked him, what he promised him-> 
self with respect to a future life : he appeared absorbed, 
and after reflecting, he answered : << Nothing certain." 
Sometime before, he was heard to reply to a similar ques- 
tion, by saying : '^ I have no conception of a future state." 
Upon another occasion he declared himself in favour of a 
kind of metempsychosis, (see Hasse, Last Conversations 
qfKanty p. 28, 29.) Will it still be said, that enlightened 
reason is sufficient for all the wants of the upright man, 
who searches sincerely and ardently the truth on the 
grand problems of life, when we see the most profound 
Sbinker, of which the history of the human mind makes 

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44 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

any mention, endowed with all the qualities, and animat- 
ed hy all the sentiments which dispose the soul to open 
to the lights of natural religion, after having passed his 
life, and employed, in the calm of the passions, and in the 
ahsenceof all (Ustraction, the resources of the most power- 
ful genius, in searching for new supports for the doc- 
trines of religion, hesitating, contradictory, and vacillating, 
on the most important subjects, in the confidential com- 
munications of friendship when the heart is most cordially 
disclosed ? 

VI. Metaphysical Principles of the Science of Law, 
1796, 8vo. After having established the existence and 
legitimacy of the duties, which practical reason prescribes 
to the will, in commanding it to realize the form of pure 
reason, Kant deduces from them certain rights, and, in 
the first place, that of never being forced to violate these 
duties, nor prevented from performing them. — As the 
first law of practical reason is : " that every reasonable 
being is to himself his own proper end, and, in no case, 
should serve as a simple means to the arbitrary will of 
another," it follows that man can neither alienate his own 
liberty nor attack that of others. The Metaphysical 
Elements of Lmw^ form one work with the Metaphysical 
Principles of the Theory of Virtue. Less rich, perhaps, 
in original and profound views, than any other of the 
great works of Kant, his Exposition of the Science of Law 
is remarkable for its interesting digressions on questions 
in legislation and politics. He examines the question, 
whether it is possible to conceive of a state of things so 
much in opposition with the essential objects of society, 
as would, in the eye of enlightened reason, present a pro- 
per motive for an insurrection ; and he denies that any 
circumstance can occur to justify the author of a revolu- 
tion. His opinion is principally founded on the interests 
of civilization. But if we owe obedience and fideUty to 
the government, as long as it can make itself respected, 
the same motives which condemn all revolutionary max- 
ims, imposes, on citizens, the sacred obligation of turning 
to the best advantage, for the interests of their country 
and humanity, any revolution which crime or feebleness 
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LIFE OP EMMANUEL KANT. 45 

may bring about. Kant followed, with the liveliest inter- 
est, the phases of the French revolution, and had a high 
idea of the ameliorations in the organization of society, 
which he believed it would introduce ; although no one 
spoke with greater indignation of its excesses. In the 
work of which we are speaking, there is a passage on the 
death of Louis XVI., surpassing perhaps, in energy and 
effect, all the eloquence which this enormity has called 
forth. 

VII. Philosophical Essay on Perpetiuil Peace : Koe- 
nigsberg, 1 795, in 8vo. There is nothing in this essay 
Resembling the councils and reveries of the good abbe de 
St. Pierre. Kant expects nothing from the influence of 
reason, but every thing from the force of things. Rais- 
ing himself to a region, whence he embraces, in one view, 
the existing relations among nations and individuals, he 
discovers and points out the facts and necessities, which 
must lead men gradually to come out of their present 
barbarous and destructive state of inquietude ; in the same 
manner as the establishment of social institutions resulted 
from the union of families, renouncing the state of nature 
to guarantee the mutual security of person and property, 
by creating a central authority, sustained by a force which 
eould not be resisted. — There reigns throughout this work 
a kind of malicious naivete, to which its elevated and sa- 
gacious views give a most peculiar charm. The same 
mixture of delicate wit, sprightliness, and severe purity in 
the general tendency, which rendered the conversation of 
Kant so interesting and instructive, is to be remarked in 
the last of his works published under his own inspection, 
entitled, — 

VIII. Essay on Anthropology^ considered in a prog- 
maticcU vieWy (that is, applied to the necessities of life,) 
1788, in 8vo. This work, filled with acute observations 
and ingenious views, considers human nature under the 
various modifications which diversity of age, sex, tempe- 
rament, race, social organization, climate, &c. produce -in 
the exercise and culture of its original faculties. Kant 
here shows himself as thoroughly acquainted with men, 
as he has proved himself the profound investigator of 

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46 LIFE OF BHMANCSL KANT. 

man, in his metai^ysical writings. This essay, connected 
With his Physical Geography , proves that he had 'paid as 
much attention to the study of man in concretOy as of 
man in abstracto. In hit comparative view of the cha- 
racteristic qualities of the principal European nations, we 
are surprised to see his predilection for the French, who 
are treated far more favourably than the Ei^^h, among 
whom he numbered many of his oldest and best friends. 
In the preface to the Anthropology, Kant bids adieu to 
the public, and shortly after committed all his manuscripts 
to Messrs. Jaesche and Rink, his pupib and friends, leav- 
ing to them the care of publishing whatever they might 
find useful among them. The former selected a Mantud 
for teaching Logia, 1801 ; the latter, a Treatise on JSdu" 
caHon^ which appeared in 180H, under the title oi Peda- 
gogic^ and the Summary of Physical Geography, of 
which we have spoken, published at Koenigsberg, (1802, 
in 2 vols. 8vo.) with the object of destroying a work, pub- 
lished under the same title, at Hamburg, in 7 vols, by 
J. J. W. VoUmer, arranged from, notes taken in Kant's 
lecture-roon). This objeet was not attained, as the edi- 
tion of VoUmer appeared to oflFer more completely, than 
that of Mr. Rink, the vast and interesting picture of the 
earth and its inhabitants, which Kant had composed from 
the works of an immense number of historians and tra- 
vellers, which were his favourite study. This description 
has been reproduced by C. G. Schelle, in 2 vols, with 
corrections and additions, drawn from more recent ac- 
counts, which, however, should have been far more nu- 
merous, to place the work on a level with the present 
state of the science. 

To this notice of a work of Kant, which has none of 
the bold conceptions and profound analysis which consti- 
tute his fame, naturally connects itself, the little we have 
to say, on those of his productions which are not con- 
nected with his system. In the former of the two periods 
of his literary career, in which a different man and a dif- 
ferent genius is presented, we see Kant occupied with 
physics, mechanics, astronomy and geography, eveii more 
than with philosophy, properly so called To this period 
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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT^ 4? 

belong five and twenty works, more or less considerable ; 
we can only mention such of them as are most remarka^ 
ble for original and profound views. 1st, Thoughts 
on the True Valuation ofActivsg ForceSy and Examina-^ 
tion of the Demonstrations employed hy Leibnitz and 
otiier Mathematicians^ (Wolf, Bernoulli, Hermann, Biil- 
finger, &c.) mi this subject^ (240 pages, in 8vo. with two 
plates, 1746.) The work of Zanotti, on the same ques- 
tion, appeared the same year. 2d, The Natural History 
of the Worlds and Theory of the Heavens^ according to 
the ptnnciples of Newton, (1755, and for the fourth time, 
1 808, in 8vo.) He proves from the regularly increasing 
eccentricity of the planetary orbits, that some celestial 
bodies should be found between Saturn and the least ec- 
centric comet. Other conjectures on the system of the 
world, the milky way, the nebulae, the ring of Saturn, 
have been fully confirmed, thirty years after they were 
made, by the observations of Hersch^l ; who, struck 
with the predictions of Kant, founded merely on reason- 
ing, has more than once expressed his admiration of the 
genius of the author of the Theory of the World. 3d, 
Theory of the Winds, 1756, in 4 to. 4th, New Theory 
of the Motion and Rest of Bodies, with an attempt to ap' 
ply it to the Elements <f Physics, 1 758, in 4to. 5th, 
Essay on Negative Quantities in Philosophy, 1763, in 
8vo. It would seem that in composing this httle work of 
72 pages, Kant had some presentiments of the discoveries 
of modem chemistry and of Galvanism. 6th, On the 
PaJdo/cy of the Four Figures of Syllogism, 1762, in 8vq. 
7th, The Only Possible FounJationfor solidly Establish^ 
ing a Demonstration of the Existence of God, 1763, in 
8vo. 205 pages. These two treatises, especially the latter, 
* drew upon Kant the attention of all Germany, as the 
man most proper to effect that reform in the philosophi- 
cal sciences, the necessity of which was becoming every 
day more sensibly felt. The argument, exposed in this 
work, (No. 7,) and afterwards overturned by Kant in the 
C'iHtic of Pure Retison, together with all other argu- 
ments resting on theoretical reasonings, is founded on the 
necessity of believing a reality, of which the annihilation 

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48 LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

would involve the annihilation of all possibility ; and on 
the impossibility of ascribing suqh a character to the 
world, of which the existence and properties are contin- 
gent and variable. 8th, Considerations on the Sentiment 
of the Sublime and Beautiful^ 1774, in 8vo. This work 
contains ingenious thoughts, expressed in a lively man- 
ner, but does not approach the foundations of the sub- 
ject, and is not to be confounded with the profound ana- 
lysis of these feelings, which forms the first section of the 
Critic of Judgment. 9th, Essay on the Varums Races 
of the Human Species^ 1775. This tract has been often 
reprinted ; the ideas contained in it, have been partially 
adopted by Blumenbach, and explained in a particular 
work by Dr. Girtanner. Kant enlarged it in 1785. All 
these writings of the first epoch of Kant's life, have been 
collected by Professor Tieftrunk, in four volumes, (the 
first three in 1799, the fourth in 1807, in Halle,) toge- 
ther with the treatises, of less extent, which aippeared 
since 1781. Iliese latter, to the number of 25, are 
principally drawn from the journals, in which they were 
at first inserted by their author. A list of them may be 
found in Meusell, and more complete in the Life of Kant, 
by Mr. Borowski, (p. 44-85.) None of these smaller 
works are destitute of interest ; they are almost all filled 
with new and important ideas> upon the greatest variety 
of subjects. They are all, as the smallest of the treatises 
of Aristotle and Bacon, worthy the attention of the lite- 
rary man, as well as of the philosopher ; of the theolo- 
gian, the jurist, and the historian, as much as of the na- 
turalist and the student of physics : — they are a mine of 
original and profound thoughts, of erudite notices, of in- 
g^ous conjectures, which it will long be difficult to ex- 
haust. It would require too much space to present an 
analysis of them, and very useless to give the mere cata- 
logue — we mention only the one, entitled, Discussion 
concerning the Academical Faculties, 1 798. He here 
discusses the question, how far a public teacher may be 
permitted to publish, in his character of member of the 
Republic of Letters, opinions contrary to the doctrines 
taught in the schools, by order of the church and the go- 
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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 49 

vernment, and to which he is bound to conform in his 
official instructions. In the preface to this work, he gives 
a detailed account of the only event which disturbed the 
peaceful course of his life, his difficulties with the royal 
censorship at Berlin, respecting his treatise on the agree- 
ment of religion with reason. These difficulties pro- 
duced a serious interruption of his tranquillity, on ac- 
count of the interference of the King of Prussia, who was 
prejudiced against him. Kant showed upon this occa- 
sion, which affected him deeply, a great deal of dignity, 
but at the same time, a great deal of resignation, and the 
greatest deference for the wishes of the monarch, in 
every thing which could be reconciled with truth and 
honour. He firmly refused to make a kind of recanta- 
tion, which this Prince required of him ; but whilst he 
forcibly represented, that he had only used a right which 
belonged to him, as a professor of philosophy, and a citi- 
zen, he promised the King, in terms of the most respect- 
ful submission, that he would henceforth publish nothing 
further on the subject of religion ; an engagement which 
he scrupulously observed until the death of Frederick 
William II. This was the only occasion in which he be- 
came the object of the immediate attention of his sove- 
reign. — For his offices and his fortune, he was indebted 
solely to the usual course of academic advancement, and 
the success of his writings. He was at first, teacher in 
several private families; in 1755, he became doctor of 
philosophy, and for fifteen years, was .only one of the 
privatim docentes,* without salary, although his lectures 
were much frequented; in 1766, he was mg-de under- 
librarian, with a miserable support, and obiained at last, 
in 1770, the chair of professor of logic and met^iphysics. 
In 1786-88, he was rector of the Uniyersvfy ; in 1787, 
inscribed among the members of the academy of v Berlin, 
and died without seeing any dignity added to his titHof 

* In the German universities there are three classes, pf teacherst^.? 
the Professors ordinarii, Professors extraordinarii, and the privatim 
docentes. The last are allowed to deliver lectures, but have usu- 
ally no salary See Robinson's View of German Universities in 

Students' Cabinet Library of Useful Tracts, No. V. 



d by Google 



50 LIFE OP EMMANUEL KANT. 

Professor, exciting that of Senior of the Philosophical 
Faculty. 

It would be difficult to give an idea of his modesty and 
simplicity. He never spoke of his philosophy: and 
whilst it was the subject of conversation among the most 
enlightened men in all the countries where the language 
and literature of Germany prevail, from his house it was 
entirely banished. It was with great reluctance he satis* 
fied the wishes of strangers of distinction, who were un- 
willing to leave Koenigsberg, without seeing its greatest 
ornament. In the latter part of his life, he would only 
show himself, for a few minutes, at the door of his study 
to those who called upon him, and merely express to 
them his astonishment at their curiosity. He would 
sometimes say to his friends, smiling, ^ I have seen to- 
day some noble virtuosi." His friends assure us, that he 
hardly ever read any of the works in which, during twen- 
ty years, his principles were attacked,, defended, develop- 
ed, applied to all the branches of human knowledge, and 
of which the number is not overrated by stating it at se- 
veral thousands. When any one mentioned before him, 
his most distinguished partizans, or the authors of new 
systems which had obtained a great reputation by ap- 
pearing to develop and complete his,^ — such as Rheinhold, 
Fichte, Schelling, — ^he took no interest in the conversa- 
tion, and hastened to banish the subject, expressing with 
no little disdain, his decided disapprobation of their pre- 
tended improvements. With regard to his antagonists, 
he paid them as little attention. He showed no sensibi- 
lity to any attacks, excepting those of Eberh^rd,* which 
he victoriously repulsed, but with a spirit and tone of su- 
periority, almost offensive : and to those of Herder, who 
had been his pupil, and who, in a severe criticism on 
Kant's system,f took pleasure in contrasting the repulsive 
dryness, and scholastic subtlety of his former master in 

* A Discovery y ly which an ancient Critic of Pure Reason would 
have rendered the new one sttper^uous, 1 790 ; 2d edition, 1792. 

f Metaeritic^ as an appendix to the Critic of Pttre jReason^ by 
J. Q. Herder, Leipzig, 1799, 2 vols. 8vo. Calligone : Critic cf the 
Critic of Judgment y by the same, 1800, in 3 vols. 8vo. 
128 

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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 51 

his writings, with the Qhann, interest, and perspicuity of 
his instructions as professor ; and the variety of instruc- 
tive facts, acute and interesting ideas, and the gay and 
spirited touches with which he entivened lectures of a 
character purely eclectic. Perhaps Eberhard and Her- 
der manifested too much chagrin at the supremacy which 
Kant for some years exercised in departments in which 
they themselves shone in the first rank ; and in their po- 
lemical writings, they attributed to Kant himself far too 
much of the arrogant despotism, intolerance, and con- 
temptuous tone, which' the crowd of his followers long 
affected towards all those who would not bow the knee 
before their idol, . It is proper to mention, that the learn-' 
ed theologian, Storr, one of the most able adversaries of 
Kant, was treated by the philosopher with great regard 
and esteem. In the preface to the second edition of his 
work on Religion, which Dr. Storr had combatted, Kant 
tbanks him for the candid remarks- which he had made 
against his work, and regrets that his advanced age and 
enfeebled powers prevented his examining them with all 
the attention which their importance and sagacity me- 
rited. 

The greatest enjoyment of the latter years of Kant 
was to invite, by turns, to his table, some of his old 
friends, and converse with them ob all other subjects than 
his own system and fame : he took a lively interest in the 
events connected with the French revolution, and this- 
was the point upon which he could least support contra- 
diction. His gay and instructive conversation had al> 
ways rendered his company desirable in good society. 
His manners were mild and pure : like Newton and 
Leibnitz, he never married, although he was not insensi- 
ble to the charms of the society of amiable and well in- 
formed ladies. The smallness of his fortune, which in- 
creased only towards the close of his life, by long eco- 
nomy, and the product of his writings, twice prevented 
his forming a matrimonial connection, mutually desired. 
He survived some months, a part of his gr6at powers : 
before they became enfeebled, he often conversed with 
his friends of his approaching death : '' I do not fear 

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52 LIFE OF BMTM ANUEL RANT. 

death," he said : ( Wasiansky, p. 52 ;) " I know how to 
die. I assure you, be/ore God, that if I knew that this 
ntght was to be my last, I Would raise my hands and say, 
God be praised ! The case would be far different, if I 
hfid ever caused the misery of any one of his creatures.'* 
His motto, says the most intimate of his friends, (Wa- 
siansky, p. 53,) was the maxim contained in the verses of 
(Hie of his favourite poets : 

Summum crede nefas, animam praeferre pudori, 
Et propter vitam viVendi perdere causas. 

He was often in the habit of speaking to himself. He 
was fond of poetry, and especially of fine passages, which 
expressed with energy some moral thought ; but he had 
an aversion from oratory, and saw nothing in the most 
eloquent efforts of the greatest orators but bad faith, 
more or less, adroitly (tisguised; nor any thing in an 
elevated style, than prose in delirium. Kant was small 
in stature, and of a very delicate complexion. We have 
already spoken of his moral qualities ; he was distinguish- 
ed by the strictest veracity, and by an extreme attention 
to avoid every thing which could give pain, if the inter- 
ests of truth did not require it : he was affable, benevo- 
lent without ostentation, and thankful for any attentions 
which he received. During the latter part of his life, he 
showed himself often moved by those of his servant, who 
tnore than once had difficulty to prevent his master kiss- 
ing his hand. He gave reluctantly to common mendi- 
cants, but it was discovered after his death, that besides 
other private charities, he gave, annually, 1123 florins to 
his poor relations and to indigent families — an enormous 
sum if compared with the amount of his income. 

Such was the extraordinary man who has agitated the 
human mind to a greater depth than any of the philoso- 
phers of the same rank before him. The opinions on 
the permanent result of his analysis of the human facul- 
ties, are naturally exceedingly diverse. His faithful dis- 
ciples, of whtmi the number, it is true, is much diminish- 
ed, reg^d him as the Newton, or, at least, the Keppler 
of the intellectual world : — ^beyond his own school, many 

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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 53 

ascribe to his principles, that revival of patriotic and ge- 
nerous sentiment^ that return of vigour of mind, and that 
disinterested zeal, which have, of late years, manifested 
themselves in Germany, so much to the honour of the 
nation, to the success of her independence, and advantage 
of the moral sciences. A numerous party accuse him of 
having created a barbarous terminology, making unne- 
cessary innovations for the purpose of enveloping himself 
in an obscurity almost impenetrable, of having produced 
systems absurd and dangerous, and increased the uncer- 
tainty respecting the most important interests of man ; 
of having, by the illusion of talent, turned the attention 
of youth, from positive studies, to consume their time in 
vain speculations ; of having, by his transcendental ideal- 
ism, conducted his rigidly consequent disciples, some to 
absolute idealism, others to scepticism, others again to a 
new species of Spinosism, and all to systems equally ab- 
surd and dangerous. They further accuse his doctrine 
of being in itself a tissue of extravagant hypothesis and 
contradictory theories, of which the result is to make .us 
regard man as a creature discordant and ^tastic. They 
accuse him, finally, of having, by his demanding more 
than stoical efforts, produced in the mind, discourage- 
ment and uncertainty, much more than the germs of ac- 
tive virtue, confidence, and security. There is, undoubt- 
edly, exi^geration in both of these extreme opinions. 
The disciples of Socrates, departed still further 'from hi» 
doctrines, than those of Kant have from the principles of 
criticism. Yet, who will deny the merit of Socrates, or 
his salutary influence ? As far as the style of Kant is 
concerned, it must be confessed, that it is exceedingly 
defective. In his Critic of Pure jRetzsony his frequent 
repetitions constantly break the thread of the argument, 
and this great work was never appreciated by the public 
until the publication of the Summaries of Messrs. Schultz 
and Reinhold, in 1785 and 1789- Reinhold, especially, 
contributed to redeem it from the oblivion into which it 
had fallen, and rendered in various ways to the philosophy 
of Kant much the same service which Wolf rendered to 
that of Leibnitz. The reproach of not having reduced to 

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LIFE OF EMMANUEL KANT. 

a nngle principle, the subject and object ; the faculties of 
man, and the solution of the grand problems of philoso- 
phy, is hardly justified by the result of such attempts, an- 
terior to Kant, or by those of the idealist Fichte, or the 
materialist Schelling, who, in proposing to satisfy this de- 
sire of theoretic reason, have endeavoured to attain, by 
the force of speculation, to the absolute unity of the per- 



sonal soul, (du moi,) and of nature. This investigation 
appears to the true disciples of Kant as vain as the search 
for the quadrature of the circle, and as the very rock 
from which the Critic of Pwre Reason wished to pre- 
serve future metaphysicians. It is a reproach better 
founded, which may be made against Kant's system, that 
it resolves only one part of the doubts of Hume : a re- 
proach the more serious, as it was to guard us from these 
doubts, that Kant had recourse to a hypothesis, which 
reduces the touching and magnificent spectacle of the 
creation, to an existence more than problematical, to an 
unknown power, which it is impossible to determine, the 
X of an intellectual equation. It is not to be inferred 
from these remarks, that the theories of Kant have been 
definitively rejected in Germany : many of their princi- 
ples and results have passed into the academical course 
of instruction ; their impress is to be everywhere seen, 
and they are to be easily recognized in the writings of 
the moralists and theologians. By comparing the course 
of arrangement of Mr. Andllon, in tracing his Tableau 
anaiytique des devehppements du moi humain, (p, 99— 
360, vol. 2, of his Nmivea/tix Melanges^ 1807,) with the 
principles of Bonnet and Mr. D. Stewart, and with the 
method of the most distinguished philosophers of the 
school of Condillac, (such as Messrs. de Tracy, Laromi- 
guiere, &c.) the French reader will have an idea, suffi- 
ciently correct, of the influence which the doctrine of 
Kant has exercised over the enlightened classes in Ger- 
many. 



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BIOGRAPHY 



MADAME DE STAEL. 



BY MRS. CHItl), , 

AUTHOR or ' HOBOHOK,' ' THE ;tlOTHEK's BOOC,^ &%. 



- . ^,.- 



> .* A •^ ./ 

i . i -^ ^ 



EDINBURGH : 
THOMAS CLARK, 38, GEORGE STREET. 

MDCGCXXXVI. 

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JAMXS BURNET» P&INTEK, 5, SHAKSPXAKE SQL' ARE. 



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BIOGRAPHY 



MADAME DE STAEL. 



n me »emble voir en elle une de ces belles Grecques, qui en- 
chantaient et subjuguaient le monde. Elle a plus de talents encore 
que d'amour propre ; mus dcs talents si rares doiyent necessaire- 
ment exciter le desir de les developper ; et je ne sais pas quel thea- 
tre pent suffire a cette activate d'imagination, a ce caract^re ardent 
«nfin qui se ftut sentir dans toutes ses paroles. Coritme, 



In a gallery of celebrated women, the first place unques- 
tionably belongs to Anne Marie Louise Germaine Nee- 
ker, Baroness de Stael Holstein. 

She was the only child of Jsunes Necker, the famous 
financier, (a long time the popular idol in France), and 
of Susanna Curchod, the daughter of a poor Swiss cler- 
gyman, who in the sequestrated village of Grassy bestowed 
upon her as thorough an education as fell to the lot of 
any woman in Europe. 

Gibbon, the historian, visited the father of Mademoi- 
selle Curchod, a^d became a ci^tive to her charms. He 
tells the story in his own Memoirs, where he informs us 
that ' she was learned without pedantry, lively in conver- 
sation, pure in sentiment, and elegant in manners : her 
wit and beauty were the theme of universal applause/ 

Gibbon prospered in his suit ; but such an obscure 

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4 BIOGRAPHY OF 

connection was not af^eeable to his father, who threaten- 
ed to disinherit him if he persisted in it. He obeyed the 
parental command, like a dutiful son and a very philoso- 
phical lover ; and the young lady, on her part, seems to 
have borne the separation with becoming resignation and 
cheerfulness. 

After her father's death, Mademoiselle Curchod taught 
a school in Geneva ; where she became* acquainted with 
M. Necker, the gentleman whom she afterwards married. 
He was a native of Geneva, and at that time a banker in 
Paris. The large fortune, which he afterwards acquired, 
had its origin in the fallowing circumstances. The Old 
East India Company, consisting principally of nobility, 
were ignorant of business, and trusted every thing to the 
abilities and discretion of M. Necker. By loaning them 
money at the enormous interest they had been accustom- 
ed to pay, and by forming a lottery to relieve them from 
embarrassment, he obtained at once more than seventy 
thousand pounds ; and with this capital he became one 
of the wealthiest bankers in Europe. 

Thus Madame Necker, united to a man of uncommon 
talent and eloquence, herself rich in intelligence and 
learning, and surrounded by all the facilities of affluence, 
passed at once from the monotonous seclusion of her 
early life to a situation as dazzUng as it was distinguished. 

Their house was a favourite gathering-place for the 
fashionable and philosophical coteries of Paris, and foreign- 
er^ of note always made it a point to be presented to 
Madame Necker. 

It has been said that her husband's rise as a politician 
was greatly owing to her literary assemblies, which never 
failed to draw around them all the talented and influen- 
tial men of the day. * She wrote a book of Miscellanies, 
that obtained considerable reputation, especially in Ger- 
many. But all the honours paid to Monsieur and Ma- 
dame Necker, however flattering at the time, were com- 
pletely eclipsed in the glorious distinction of being the 
parents of Madame de Stael. 

This extraordinary being was born in Paris, in 1766. 
In her infency, she was noticed for a remarkable degree 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 5 

of brightness, gaiety, and freedom. M. de Bonstetten 
(the correspondent of Gray the poet) tells the following 
anecdote ot her when five or six years old. Being on a 
visit to his friend, M. Necker, then residing at Coppet, 
his country-^eat, about two leagues from Geneva, he was 
one day walking through the grounds, when he was sud- 
denly struck with a switch, from behind a tree ; turning 
round, he observed the little rogue laughing. She called 
out^ ^ Mamma wishes me to learn to use my left hand, 
and so I am trying.' Simond says, < She stood in great 
awe of her mother, but was very familiar with her father, 
of whom she was dotingly fond. One day, after dinner, 
as Madame Necker rose first and left the room, the little 
girl, tiU then on good behaviour, all at once seizing her 
napkin, threw it across the table, in a fit of mad spirits, at 
her father^s head ; then ran round to him, and hanging 
about his neck, allowed him no time for reproof.' 

The caresses of her fiither, contrary to the more rigid 
views of Madame Necker, constantly encouraged her 
childish prattle ; and the approbation she obtained per- 
petually excited her to new efforts : even then, she re- 
plied to the continual pleasantries of her father with that 
mixture of vivacity and tenderness, which afterward so 
delightfully characterized her intercourse with him. 
Madame Necker de Saussure, her relation and intimate 
firiend, speaking of her early maturity, says, < It seems as 
if Madame de Stael had always been young, and never 
been a child. I have heard of only one trait, which bore 
the ^amp of childhood ; and even in this there is an in- 
dication of talent. When a very little girl, she used to 
amuse herself by cutting paper kings and queens, and 
making them play a tragedy ; her mother being very 
rigid in her religious opinions, forbade a play which might 
foster a love of the theatre ; and Marie would often hide 
berself to pursue her favourite occupation at leisure. 
Perhaps in this way she acquired the only peculiar habit 
«he ever had, that of twisting a bit of paper, or a leaf, 
between her fingers.' 

Through her whole life, the idea of giving pleasure to 
her parents was a very strong motive with her. She 

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BIOGBAPHY OF 



gave a singnlar proof of this at ten years of age. Seeing- 
how much they both adooired M. Gibbon, the early lover, 
and aftef ward the cordial friend of Madame Necker, she 
imagined it -was her duty to marry him, in order that 
they might constantly enjoy his agreeable conversation ;. 
and she seriously proposed it to her Baother. . Those who 
have seen a full length profile of the corpulent historian 
will readily believe the child's* imagination was not capti- 
vated with his figure. 

Madame Necker being anxious that her daughter 
should have a companion of her own age, invited Made- 
moiselle Httber, afterward Madame Rilliet ; the choice 
was decided by the intimacy of the families, and by the 
careful education of Mademoiselle Huber. This lady 
has written an account ef their first interview, which will 
give an idea of the raamners and habits of Mademoiselle 
Necker at eleven years oW. At that time her father had 
just been appointed Comptroller General of the Finance 
oi France. The friend of her youth, describing their 
introduction to each other, says, ' She talked to me witb 
a warmth and facility, which was already eloquence, and 
which made a great impression upon me. We did not 
play, Hke children. She immediately asked me about, 
my lesson, whether I knew any foreign languages, and if 
I often went to the theatre. When I toid her I had 
never been but three or four tin>es, she exclaimed — and 
promised that we should often go together t adding, that 
when we returned,- we would, according to her usual: 
habit, write down the subject of the dramas, and what 
had particularly struck us. She likewise proposed that 
we should write together every morning. 

' We entered the parlour. By the ade of Madame 
Necke/s chair was a footstoc^ on which her dai:^hter 
seated herself, being obliged to sit very upright. She 
had hardly taken her accustomed place, when two or 
three elderly persons gathered round her, and b^an to 
talk to her with the most affectionate interest. The 
Abbe Raynal held her hand in his a long time, and con- 
versed with her as if she had been twenty-five years of 
age. The others around her were MM. Thonxa^ Mar- 
13a 

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MADAME DB STAEL. 7 

montel, the Marquis de Pesay, and the Baron de Grimm. 
At table, how she listened! She did not open her 
mouth, yet she seemed to talk in her turn, so much was 
spoken in the changing expression of her features. Her 
eyes followed the looks and movements of those who 
conversed, and one would have judged that she even an- 
ticipated their ideas. On every subject she seemed at 
home ; even in politics, which at that period excited very 
jQ^reat interest. After dinner, numerous visiters arrived. 
Every one, as they came up to Madame Necker, spoke 
to her daughter, indulging in some slight compliment, or 
pleasantry. She replied to every thing with ease and 
gracefulness : they loved to amuse themselves by attack- 
ing her, and trying to embarrass her, in order to excite 
that little imagination, which already began to show its 
brilliancy. Men the most distinguished for intellect were 
those who particularly attached themselves to her» 
They asked her to give an account of what she had been 
reading, talked of the news, and gave her a taste for 
study by conversing about that which she had learned, 
or that of which she was ignorant.' 

In consequence of Madame Keeker's system of educa^ 
. tion, her daughter, at the same time that she pursued a 
course of severe study, was constantly accustomed to 
conversation beyond her years. The world must have 
somewhat softened the severity of Madame Necker's 
opinions: for we find that she often allowed her daughter 
to assist at the representation of th6 best dramatic pieces. 
Her pleasures, as well as her duties, were exercises of in- 
tellect ; and nature, which had originally bestowed great 
gifts, was assisted by every possible method. In this 
way her vigorous faculties acquired a prodigious growth. 

At this period of her life, we find the following account 
of her in the Memoir of Baron de Grimm. 

* While M. Necker passes decrees which cover him 
with glory, and will render his administration eternally 
dear to France; while Madame Necker renounces all 
the sweets of society to devote herself to the establish- 
ment of an Hospital of Charity, in the parish of St. Sul- 
picius, their daughter, a girl of twelve years old, who al- 

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8 BIOGRAPHY OF 

ready evinces talents above her age, amuses herself with 
writing little comedies, after the manner of the semi-dra- 
mas of M. de St. Mark. She has just completed one, in 
two acta, entitled the " Inconveniences of the life led at 
Paris," which is not only astonishing for her age, but ap- 
pears even very superior to her models. It represents a 
mother who had two daughters, one brought up in all the 
Simplicity of rural Ufe, and the other amid the grand airs 
of the capital. The latter is the favourite, from the ta- 
lents and graces she displays; but this mother, felling 
into misfortunes, from the loss of a law-suit, soon learns 
which of the two is in reality most deserving of her aflFec- 
tion. The scenes of this little drama are well connected 
together, the characters are well supported, and the de- 
velopment of the intrigue is imtural and fiill of interest. 
M. Marmontel, who saw it performed in the drawing-room 
at St. Ouen, the country-house of M. Necker, by the 
author and some of her young companions, was affected 
by it even to tears.' 

In 1781, when her father published his Compte Rendti, 
Mademoiselle Necker wrote him a very remarkable ano- 
nymous letter, which he immediately recognized by the 
style. 

From her earliest youth she evinced a decided taste 
for composition. Her first attempts were portraits and 
eulogiums, a style of writing which was then extremely 
popular in France, under the influence of Thomas, the 
friend of Madame Necker. At the age of fifteen, she 
made extracts from the Spirit of the Laws ; accompanied 
by her own reflections ; and at that time the Abbe Ray- 
nal wished her to furnish, for his great work, an article on 
the Revocation of the JSdict of Nantes. 

Her father was naturally averse to female authors, and 
nothing but her very decided excellence could have in- 
duced him to pardon her love of writing. 

The sensibilities of her heart seem to have been as early 
and as fully developed as the energies of her mind. In 
1781 her father removed from office amid the universal 
lamentations of the people, and retired to his residence 
in Switzerland. Paul of Russia and his princess were 
140 

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MADAME DB STAEL. 9 

then travelling through Europe, under the title of Count 
and Countess du Nord. The royai pair visited M. Nec- 
ker, at Coppet, and expressed their respect and esteem 
in terms so flatteripg, that Mademoiselle Neeker burst 
into tears. 

The same warmth and susceptibility of character was^ 
shown in her ardent attachment for Mademoiselle Huber; 
and indeed we find proofs of it at every period of her 
life. 

The deep feeling and sombre richness spread over all 
her writings, was early manifested in her literary taste : 
' That which interested her,' says Madame Rilliet, * was 
always that which made her weep.' 

The health of Mademoiselle Neeker could not endure 
the high pressure of excitement so constantly applied to 
her intellectual faculties. Before she was fifteen years 
old, the physicians were obliged to order complete seclu- 
sion, and total abandonment of study. This was a sub- 
ject of great regret to Madame Neeker. She had indulged 
an unbounded ambition for her daughter ; and, according 
to her ideas, to give up great learning was to renounce 
all hopes of distinction. Having obtained extensive eru- 
dition by her own patient habits of mental labour, she 
thought every body could study as intensely and metho- 
dically as she had done. < With her, every thing was a 
study. She studied society, individuals, the art of writ- 
ing, the art of talking— *6he even studied herself: all was 
reduced to a system, and details were elevated to great 
importance.' 

Her feelings, as well as her mind, were k^t in rigid 
subjection to propriety and method ; and having obtained 
much by effort, she exacted much from others. Her 
husband once said of her, * Madame Neeker would be 
perfectly amiable, if she only had something to forgive 
in herself.' 

Such a character pre-supposes very little facility in 
varying her plans : when she found her daughter's consti- 
tution could not sustain the rigid system she had marked 
out for her, she gave the work of education entirely into 
the hands of her husband. 

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10 BIOGRAPHY OF 

The freedom of spirit thus granted to Mademoiselle 
Necker was probably the reason her genius afterward took 
so bold a flight. 

A life all poetry succeeded to her previous habits of 
study and restraint. Every thing conspired to give abun- 
dant nourishment to her active imagination. She had 
nothing to do but to run about the woods of St. Ouen, 
with h^r young friend, Mademoiselle Huber. The two 
girls, dressed as nymphs, or as muses, declaimed poetry, 
made verses, and wrote dramas, which they themselves 
represented. 

The power of profiting by her fiither^s leisure was a 
great advantage to her at this period of her life. She 
never neglected an opportunity of being with him ; and 
his conversation was always her highest enjoyment. 
M. Necker was every day more struck with her wonderful 
intelligence; and never did it show itself in such charm- 
ing forms as when with him. She soon perceived that he 
had need of relaxation and amusement ; and in the gaiety 
of an affectionate heart she tried a thousand ways to make 
him smile. Her father was never prodigal of his appro- 
bation ; his looks were ever more flattering than his words. 
He found it more necessary, as well as more amusing, to 
notice her faults than her merits. No incipient imper- 
fection escaped his raillery ; the slightest tendency to pre- 
tension, or exaggeration was promptly checked. In after 
life, she often used to say, ' I owe the frankness of my 
manners, and the ingenuousness of my character, entirely 
to my father's penetration. He used to unmask all my little 
affectations ; and I acquired the habit of believing that he 
<!Ould see into my inmost heart.' 

As might be expected, the extreme vivacity of Made- 
moiselle Necker was continually betraying her into sins 
against her mother's ideas of order and decorum. On 
this subject, she made a thousand good resolutions, but 
was always sure to forget them the moment she needed 
them. She could not restrain her exuberant fancy and 
overflowing spirits. Her soul was a full,, bright stream, 
for ever deluging its banks, and rushing and bubbling over 
all impediments. 
142 ^ , 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 1 1 

Sometimes, with the intention of being very proper, 
she would sit demurely behind her father, at a distance 
from the company, that she might not interrupt conver- 
sation ; but presently one intelligent man would be 
withdrawn from the circle, then another, then another, 
until a noisy group was formed around her : M. Necker 
smiled, involuntarily, as her lively conversation met his 
ear, and the original subject of discussion was entirely 
deranged. 

The perfect friendship and boundless sympathy exist- 
ing between Mademoiselle Necker and her father was 
not entirely agreeable to Madame Necker: she was 
slightly jealous of losing the first place in her husband's 
affections. Had her highly-gifted daughter excelled in 
such qualities as belonged to her own character, she 
wovild have been associated with all her attractions, and 
success would naturally have been attributed to her judi- 
cious care ; but the fact was, her daughter pleased by 
qualities exactly opposed to her own, and her success in 
society originated in a course of education directly con- 
trary to ^er views. 

Mademoiselle Necker's character was, in many points, 
different from her father's, and decidedly marked by a 
higher order of genius ; but in the quickness of her per- 
ceptions and the promptitude of her wit, she resembled 
him much more than she did her mother.* We must 
therefore forgive the workings of human nature in Ma- 
dame Necker, if she could not always conceal her impa- 
tieilce when she saw her husband giving himself up so 
unreservedly to the enjoyment of a mind alike without a 
model, or an equal. When Madame Saussure expressed 
surprise at the prodigious distinction of Mademoiselle 
Necker, her mother replied, ^ It is nothing, absolutely 
nothing at all, to what I would have made her.' 

* M. Necker, though no one could have guessed it from hts writ- 
ings, was full of humour, and apt to see things in a ludicrous point 
of view. He was rather silent, but made sly remarks and sharp re- 
partees. He wrote several witty plays ; but thinking it beneath the 
dignity of a minister of State to publish them, he burnt them. — Si- 
mond. 

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12 BIOGRAPHY OF 

Through her whole life Madame de Stael was charae* 
terized by candour and amiability ; and these qualities 
never showed themselves more plainly than when reproved 
by her mother. Perhaps she gave too open and decided 
a preference to her more indulgent parent ; hut she aU 
ways cherished a profound veneration for Madame Nee- 
ker. Though she had, from her earliest childhood, in- 
dulged in habits of quick and lively repartee, she was never 
known, in her most careless moments, to speak a disres- 
pectful word of her mother. 

Madame Necker had two different kinds of influence 
upon the character and destiny of her illustrious daugh- 
ter ; both of which tended to produce the same remark- 
able result. 

She transmitted to her ardent affections, a strong capa- 
city for deep impressions, great enthusiasm for the grand 
and beautiful, and an^ ambition for wit, talent, learning, 
and all kinds of distinction ; but the rigid restraint she 
imposed upon her in early life, instead of inducing her 
own habits of strict discipfine and self-control,, produted 
a violent reaction. Madame Necker thought everything 
of detail and method ; and the exaggerated importance 
she tttached to them was probably the reason that her 
daughter thought nothing of them. In Madame Necker's 
mind all was acquired and arranged ; in her daughter's all 
was freshness and creation. To one the world was a les- 
son to be studied ; to the other it was full of theories to 
be invented. The mother's admiration was . exclusively 
given to habits and principles acquired with care, and 
maintained with watchfulness ; while the daughter's warm- 
est sympathies were bestowed upon generous impulses, 
and natural goodness of heart. 

In after years, when death had taken from Madame de 
Stael the friend of her infancy, and when sad experience 
had somewhat tamed the romance it could not destroy, 
she appreciated her mother's well-balanced character more 
highly. < The more I see of life,' she once said to Ma- 
dame Saussure, < the better do I understand my mother ; 
and the more does my heart feel the need of her.' 

Mademoiselle Necker resided at Coppet from 1781 to 

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MADAME DB 6TAEL. 13 

17S7, when her Esther was restored to office, and his fa>* 
»ily accompanied him to Paris. 

During her stay in Switzerland she wrote a sentimen- 
tal comedy, called * Sophia, or Secret Sentiments,' found- 
ed on a story of ill-directed and unhappy love ; published 
when she was twenty-one years of age. 

Immediately after she came to Paris, she finished her 
tragedy of Lady Jane Grey, which has had considerable 
reputation. Soon after, she wrote, but never published, 
another tragedy, called Montmorency, in which the part 
of Cardinal de Hichelieu is said to have been sketched 
with great spirit. These early productions had prominent 
defects, as well as beauties. They were marked by that 
perfect harmony between thought and expression which 
Always constituted her most delightful peculiarity, in con- 
versation or writings but her friends considered them 
valuable principdly on account of the promise they gave 
of future greatness. To the worid they are objects of 
curiosity, as the first records in the history of an extra- 
ordinary mind. 

Her dramas were written in verse ; but she never after 
attempted poetry, except some slight effort for amusement. 
Her vigorous and rapid mind was a little impatient under 
the trammels of French versification. In prose, she was 
not compelled to sacrifice originality and freedom ; and 
in throwing away her fetters she lost nothing but rhyme, 
for her soul poured into prose all its wealth of poetry. 

Before her twentieth year, she wrote the three Tales, 
which were not published till 1795, nearly ten years after. 
She herself attached very little value to these light pro- 
ductions. A treatise on the various forms of fiction, in 
relation to progressive degrees of civilization, is intro- 
duced as a Preface. 

Mademoiselle Necker's eloquent and fascinating style 
of conversation gave a vivid interest to the earliest pro- 
ductions of her pen. No one heard her talk without be- 
ing eager to read what she had written. The portraits 
and impromptu sketches, which she made for the amuse- 
ment of her friends, were handed about in parties, and- 
sought for with avidity : even in these were discovered 

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14 BlCGltAPlllr OF 

her characteristic acuteness of thotight, and the hanDDni- 
ous flow of her animated style. 'Something of the atten- 
tion paid her at this time may no doiibt be attributed to 
her father's popularity and pohtical influence. 

If she had attracted much notice in Switzerland, be- 
fore her mind had attained the iuhiess of its majestic sta- 
ture, it will readily be believed that she excited an unusual 
sensation when she appeared in the brilliant circles <if 
Paris. Her hands and arms were finely formed, and of a 
most transparent whiteness. She seldom covered them — 
confessing, with the child-like frankness which gave such 
an endearing charm to her powerful character, that she 
was resolved to make the most of the only personal beau- 
ty nature had given her.* True, she had none of the 
usual pretensions to be called a handsome woman ; but 
there was an intellectual splendour about her face thslt 
arrested and rivetted attention. * No expression was per- 
manent ; for her whole soul was in her countenance', and 
it took the character of every passing emotion. When 
in perfect repose, her long eye-lashes gave something of 
heaviness and languor to her usually animated physiogno- 
my ; but when excited, her magnificent dark eyes flashed 
with genius, and seemed to announce her ideas before ^he 
could utter them, as lightning precedes the thunder. 
There was nothing of restlessness in her features ; there 
was even something of indolence ; but her vigorous fortn, 
her animated gestures, her graceful and strongly marked 
attitudes, gave a singular degree of directness and energy 
to her discourse. There was something dramatic about 
her, even in dress, which, while it was altogether free 
from ridiculous exaggeration, never failed to convey an 
idea of something more picturesque than the reigning fa- 
shion. When she first entered a room, she walked with 
a slow and grave step. A slight degree of timidity made 

* Her feet are said to have been clamsy. This eircttmstaiice gave 
rise to a pun, which annoyed her a little. On some occasion she 
represented. a statue, the face of which was concealed. A gentle- 
man being asked to guess who the statue waiS, glanced at the block 
of marble on which she stood, and answered * Je vois le pied de 
Stael,' (le piedestal.J 
146 ' n } 

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MiMPAM^ I>.E &TA(EL. 15 

it ne^qes^ary ^for h«r to collect her fg^qulties when she wa^ 
about to attract the notice of a party. This cloud of 
einbarfassn(>ent did ^qt at first permit her to distinguish 
any thing ■} but her face lighted up in proportion .to the 
friends j^he recognized.' 

< The ,kindness and generosity of her disposition* led 
h€jrto,mark the merits of others. strongly on her memory ; 
as sh^ .talked, ^he always seemed to have present to her 
thoughts the best aqtions find qualities of each one with 
.whom she conversed. Her compliments .partook of the 
sincerity of the heai^t from which they came. She .prais- 
ed without flattering. She used to say» '* politeness was 
.only the art of qkqomig among our thoughts." '—She 
possessed this art in an eminent degree. There never 
was a more shrewd observer of human nature, or one who 
better Jknewhov^ to adapt herself to every variety of cha- 
racter. Sir John Sinclair, a celebrated Scotchman, men- 
tions a circupdstam^e .which shows the kind of tact she 
possessed. When he visited her father'^ house, he found 
her .seated at the instrument, singing that plaintive .High- 
land, air, so popular with his countrymen, * Maybe we re- 
turn to Lochaber no mpire»'- 

The following highly-coloured portrait of her, though 
full of French enthusiasm, can hardly give us an exagge- 
rated id^a. of. the homage she received. It was written 
by a gentleman, one of her literary friends. 

* She is the most celebrated priestess of Apollo ; the 
favourite of the god. The incepse she offers is the most 
agreeable, and her hymns are the most dear. Her words, 
when she wishes, make the deities descend to adorn his 
tei^ple, and to mingle among mortals. From the midst 
of the sacred priestesses there suddenly advances one — 
my heart always recognizes her. 

* .Her large dark eyes sparkle with genius ; her hair, 
black as ebony, falls in waving ringlets on her shoulders ; 
her features are more strongly marked than delicate, — 
one reads in them something above the destiny of her 
sex. 

* Thus would we paint the muse of poetry, or Clio, or 
Melpomene. " See her ! See her ! " they exclaim, 

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16 BIOGRAPHY OF 

wherever she appears ; and we hold our breath as she 
approaches. 

< I had before seen the Pythia of Delphi, and the Sybil 
of Cumse ; but they were wild ; their gestures had a 
convulsive air ; they seemed less filled with the presence 
of the god than devoured by the Furies. The young 
priestess is animated without excess, and inspired without 
intoxication. Her charm is freedom ; all her supernatu- 
ral gifts seem to be a part of herself. 

* She took her lyre of gold and ivory, and began to 
sing the praises of Apollo. The music and the words 
were not prepared. In the celestial poetic fire that kin- 
dled in her face, and in the profound attention of the 
people, you could see that her imagination created the 
song; and our ears, at once astonished and delighted, 
knew not which to admire most^ the facility, or the per- 
fection. 

' A short time after, she laid aside her lyre, and talked 
of the great truths of nature, — of the immortality of the 
soul, of the love of liberty, of the charm and the danger 
of the passions. To hear her, one would have said there 
was the experience of many souls mingled into one: 
seeing her youth, we were ready to ask how she had been 
able thus to anticipate hfe, and to exist before she was 
bom. I have looked and listened with transport. I have 
discovered in her features a charm superior to beauty. 
What an endless play of variety in the expression of her 
countenance ! What inflexions in the sound of her 
voice ! What a perfect correspondence between the 
thought and the expression ! She speaks-^^nd, if I do 
not hear her words, her tones, her gestures, and her looks 
convey to me her meaning. She pauses — ^her last words 
resound in my heart, and I read in her eyes what she is 
yet about to say. She is silent — and the temple resounds 
with applause ; she bows her head in modesty ; her long 
eye-lashes ftdl over her eyes of fire ; and the sun is veil- 
ed from our sight ! ' 

Such was Madame de Stael in the lustre of her youth 
— advancing with joy and confidence into a life, which 
promised nothing but happiness. She was herself too 
148 

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MADAMB DK 8TABL. 1 7 

luhd to admit any forebodings of hatred, and too great 
an admirer of genius in others to suspect that it could be 
envied. But alas ! though 

* Some flowera of Eden we still may inherit. 
The trail of the serpent is over them all.' 

Such remarkable and obvious superiority could not be 
cheerfully tolerated by the narrow-minded and the selfish. 
Mademoiselle Necker might have been forgiven for being 
the richest heiress in the kingdom ; but they could not 
pardon the fascination of talent, thus eclipsing beauty, 
and overshadowing rank. The power of intellect is. borne 
with less patience than the tyranny of wealth ; for genius 
cannot, like money, be loaned at six per cent. 

Accordingly we find an extreme willingness to repeat 
any thing to the. disadvantage of Mademoiselle Necker. 
Anecdotes were busily circulated about her early awk- 
wardness, her untameable gaiety, the blunders that ori- 
ginated in her defect of sight, and, more than all, the 
mistakes into which she had been led by her warm un- 
su^cting temper, and the tricks that had been practised 
upon her in consequence of the discovery of her foibles. 
— ' Envy, party-spirit, the strong temptation to be witty 
at the expense of such a person, have multiplied ill-natur- 
ed stories, eagerly repeated even by those who courted 
her society, and whom she believed to be her friends ; 
/thus giving, without intending it, the measure of their 
i own inferiority, by the exclusive notice they took of such 
; peculiarities of character as happened to be nearest their 
^oWn level.' * Neglecting to make a courtesy, and having 
''^ little piece of trimming ripped from her dress, when she 
was presented at court sifter her marriage, — and her hav- 
ing left her cap in the carriage, when she visited Madame 
de Polignac, furnished subjects of amusement for all Parisl 

But she herself recounted her own blunders with such 
infinite grace and good humour, that there was no with- 
standing her. Bad indeed must iMive been the temper 

* Simond. 

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18 BIOGRAPHY or 

tJkat conW long resist tli« winning'' mftirence of her amia- 
We manners. * When she a^))eared th« most eagerly 
engaged in conversation, she could always detect her ad- 
versaries at a glance, and was sure to captivate or disarm 
them as the conversation proceeded. She had a singular 
degree of tact in guessing what reply to make to reproach- 
es that had not been expressed. She never allowed her- 
self to he tedious, and she never indulged in asperit}'. 
If a dispute threatened to be serious, she gave it a play- 
ful turn, and by one happy woi^d restored harmony. In 
fact, no 6ne would haVe been encouraged in an attempt 
to disconcert or vex her ; f6r a^ she deeply interested 
while she amused her hearers-, they would have cordially 
joined against the aggressor ; and could any one have 
succeeded in silencing her eloquence, he would have de- 
spaired of being able to supply her place.' 

M.' Necker's wealth, and his daughter's extraordinary 
powers of pleasing, soon attracted suitors. Her parents 
were extremely ambitious for her ; and the choice was 
not decided without difficulty ; for she insisted upon not 
being obliged to leave France, dtid her mother made ft 
a point that she should not nfftirry a Catholic. We are 
told thsit she rfefused seve=ral distinguished m^n. Sir 
John Sihclair, in his Correspondence, speaks of a project- 
ed union between the son of Lord Rivers and Made- 
moiselle Netker, and regrets that it did not take place, 
as it would have withdrawn he^r family frorm the vortex 
of French politics ; hut I find no allusion elsewhere to 
this English marriage, and Sit John does not inform us 
upon what authority his rfetnark is founded. In her 
works, Madame de Sta^l constantly expresses great ad- 
miration of England, and she chose to give her Corihtitt 
an English lover. Whether this taste, so singulat in a 
French woman, had aiiy thing to do with het ekfly recol- 
lections, I know fiot. 

Her fate was at last decided by Erit-Mjtgnu&, Baron 
de Sta^l Holstein, a Swedish noblerhan, secr^tai^y to the 
ambassador from the court of Stockholm. He is said to 
have had an amiable disposition, a fine person, and court- 
ly manners ; but we are not told that in point of intellect 

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MA9AMS DB STAEL. 19 

he possessed axiy distuaguished claims to the hand of 
Mademoiselle Necker. Like a good many personages in 
history, he seems to have accideotally fallen upon greatness 
hy pleasing the fancies of his superiors, or coming in 
contact with their policy. He was a favourite with Ma- 
rie Antoinette, who constantly advanced his interests by. 
her patronage ; he was likewise the bosom friend of Count 
Fersea, who at thai; time had great influence at court. 

The queen warmly urged his suit; Gustavus III. will- 
iBg to please MarLe Antoinette, and to secure such a 
iajrge fortune to one of his subjects, recalled the Swedish 
ambassador, and appointed the Baron de Stael in his 
{>lace, promising that he should enjoy that high rank for 
many years ; and the lover himself, in order to remove 
the scruples the young lady had with regard to marrying 
a foreigner, pledged his honour that she should never be 
urged 4o quit France. 

Sir John Sinclair tells us that M. Necker was supposed 
to favour the match in hopes of being restored to office 
through the influence of the Queen and Count Fersen ; 
but such a motive is not at all consistent with the charac- 
ter Madame de Stael has given of her father, who she 
says, * in every circumstance of his life preferred the least 
of his duties to the most important of his interests.' 

She herself probably imagined the connection might 
be of use to her beloved parents; and her ambition might 
have been tempted by her lover's rank as a nobleman and 
ambassador ; at least it is difficult to account in any other 
manner for her union with a foreigner considerably older 
than herself, and with whom she had few points of sym- 
pathy in character, or pursuits ; it was a notorious fact 
that she was never over fond of the match, and entered 
into the necessary arrangements with great coldness. 

She was married to the Baron de Stael in 1786, and 
the bridegroom received, on his wedding-day, eighty 
thousand pounds as her dowry. ^ 

This union, like most marriages of policy, was far from 
being a happy one. Had Madame de Stael been a heart- 
iess, selfish character, such a destiny would have been 
flood enough ; but they were indeed cruel, who assisted 

151 

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20 BIOGRAPHY OF 

in imposing such icy fetters on a soul so ardent, generous, 
and affectionate as hers. Nature, as usual, rebelled 
against the tyranny of ambition. We are told by her 
firiends, and indeed there is internal evidence in most of 
her works, that her life was one long sigh for domestic 
love. 

When she became a mother, she used pkyfnlly to say, 

* I ^\\\ force my daughter to make a marriage of incUna- 
tion/ 

The impetuosity of an nnsatisfied spirit gave a singular 
degree of vehemence to all her attachments ; her grati* 
tude and friendship took the cc4ouring of ardent love» 
She was extremely sensitive where her heart was con- 
cerned ; and at the slightest neglect, real or imaginary, 
from her friends, she would exclaim with bitter emphasis, 
' Never, never have I been loved as I love others ! * 

When she was the most carried away by the excite<» 
ment of society, and the impetuous inspiration of her own 
spirit, it was impossible for a friend to glide away nnper-- 
ceived by her. This watchful anxiety was the source of 
frequent reproaches ; she was for ever accusing her 
friends of a diminution in their love. Madame de Saus- 
sure once said to her, < Your friends have to submit each 
morning to renewed charges of coldness and neglect.* 

* What matter for that,* she replied, * if I love them the 
better every evening ?* She used to say, * I would go to 
the scaffold, in order to try the friendship of those wha 
accompanied me.' 

Yet with all her extreme susceptibility of tenderness 
and admiration, she was not blind to the slightest defects. 
With her, character always passed under a close and ri- 
gorous examination ; and if she sometimes wounded the 
vanity of her friends by being too clear-sighted to their 
imperfections, they were soothed by her enthusiastic ^- 
miration of all their great and good qualities. Indeed 
she might well be forgiven by others, since her acute 
powers of analysis were directed against her own charac- 
ter with the most unsparing severity. • 

The winter after Madame de StaeKs marriage, her hf 
ther was exiled forty leagues from Paris> and she was 
152 

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MADAME DB STAEL. 21 

with lum during the greater part of his absence. In the 
August following, 1766, he was recalled with added ho^ 
nouTS, and his daughter, of course, became one of the 
most important personages in France. But while she 
formed the centre of attraction in the fashionable and in- 
tellectual society of Paris, she did not relinquish her 
taste for literature. In 1789, she published her feimous 
Letters on the Character and Writings of J. J. Rousseau. 
The judicious will not approve of all the opinions ex- 
pressed in this book ; and perhaps she herself would have 
idewed things differently when riper years and maturer 
judgment had somewhat subdued the artificial glare^ 
which youth and romance are so apt to throw over wrong 
actions and fidse theories. * It is, however, a glowing and 
eloquent tribute to the genius of that extraordinary man ; 
and the acuteness shown in her remarks on the £milius» 
and the Treatise on the Social Contract, is truly wonder^ 
ful in a young woman so much engrossed by the glitter- 
ing distractions of fashionable life.' 

At first only a few copies were printed for her intimate 
friends ; but a full edition was soon published without 
her consent. The Baron de Grimm, who saw one of 
the private copies, speaks of it with great admiration as 
one of the most remarkable productions of the time. 

Before the year expired, we find her involved in anxi- 
ety and trouble occasioned by the second exile of her 
father. His dismission from ofiice excited great clamour 
among the populace, who regarded him as the friend of 
liberty and the people. This feeling was openly express- 
ed by closing the theatres, as for some great national ca- 
lamity. The consequence was an almost immediate re- 
call ; and Madame de Stael warmly exulted in the tri- 
umph of a parent, whom she seems to have regarded 
with a feeling little short of idolatry. 

* From the moment of his return, in July, 1789» to the 
period of his final fall from power, in September, 1790^ 
M. Necker was all powerful in France ; and Madame de 
Stael, of course, was a person of proportional consequence 
in the literary, philosophical, and political society about 
the court, and in those more troubled circles from which 

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22 BIOGRAPHY OF 

the Revolution was just beginniog to go forth in ks most 
ahurming forms. Her situation enabled her to see the 
soorceS) however secret, of all the movements that were 
then agkating the very foundations of civil order in 
France; and she had talent to understand them with 
great clearness and truth. She witnessed the violent re- 
moval of the king to Paris, on the 6th of October ; she 
was [Nresent at the first meetiiig of the National Conven- 
tion, and heard Mirabeau and Barnave ; she followed the 
procession to Notre Dame, to hear Louis XYI. swear to 
a constitution, which virtually dethroned him ; and from 
that period, her mind seems to have received a political 
tendency, that it never afterward lost. 

^ In 1790, she passed a short time with her £ither at 
Coppet, bat soon retmmed to Paris. 

^ She associated, on terms of intimacy, with Talley- 
rand, for whom she wrote the most important part of his 
Report on Public Instruction, in 1790. She likewise 
numbered among her friends. La Fayette, Narboane, 
Sieyes, and other popular leaders.' 

When, amid the universal consternation, there could 
be no one found to shelter the proscribed victin» of the 
despotic mob, Madame de Stael had the courage to offer 
some of them an asylum, hewing the residence of a fo- 
reign ambassador would not be searched. She shut them 
up in the remotest chamber, and herself spent the night 
in watching the streets. 

M. de Narbonne was concealed in her house, when 
the officers of police came to make the much dreaded 
* domiciliary visit.' She knew that he could not escape, 
if a rigorous search were made, and that if taken, he 
would be beheaded that very day. She had sufficient 
presence of mind to keep quite cahn. Partly by her elo- 
quence, and partly by a famihar pleasantry, which flat- 
tered them, she persuaded the men to go away without 
infringing upon the rights* of a foreign ambassador. 

Dr. BoUman, the same generous Hanoverian who af- 
terward attempted to rescue La Fayette from the prison 
of Olmutz, offered to undertake tne dangerous business 
of conveying Narbonne to England ; and he effected it 
154 

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MAB'AlffE' DB STAXL. 2Z 

m safety by means of a passport bekxiging to one oi Ub 
friends. 

As Sweden refiised to ackmywlet^e the French Re- 
pffbHc, the situation of the Baron de Stael became very 
imcomfortable at Paris ; and he was recalled in 1792, s 
^K)rt time before the deathf of Gustavus III. In Sep- 
tember^ 1792, Madame de Stalel set ont for S^^ntzerland, 
in a eoach and six, with servants m fall Kvery ; she was 
induced to do this, from the idea that the people would 
let her depart more freely, if they saw her in the style of 
an ambassadress. This was flKjadged ; a shabby post- 
chaise would have conveyed her more safely. A feroci- 
ous crowd stopped the horses, calling out loudly that she 
i^as carrying away the gold of the nation. A gen^cParme 
conducted her throi^h half Paris to the Hotel de Ville, 
on the staircase of which several persons had been ma^^ 
sacred < No woman had at that time perished ; but the 
next day the Princess Lamballe was murdered by the 
populace. Madame de Stael was three hours in making 
her way through the crowds that on all sid^s assailed her 
with cries of death. They had nothing against h«r per- 
sonally^ and probably did not know who she was ; but a 
carnage and liveries, in their dyes, warranted sentence of 
cjxecution. She was then pregnant ; and a gen^Harme 
who was placed in the coach, was moved with compassion 
at her situation and excessive terror ; he promised to de- 
fend her at the peril of his life. She says, * I alighted 
from my carriage, in the midst of an armed multitude, 
and proceeded under an arch of pikes. In ascending the 
staircase^ which was likewise bristled with spears, a man 
pointed toward me the one which he held in his hand ; 
but my gen-d^arme pushed it awjiy with his sabre.i The 
Pfestdent of the Commune was Robespierre ; and I 
breathed again, because I had escaped from the popu- 
lace ; yet what ft protector was Robespierre I His sec- 
retstry h^d left his beard untouched for a fortnight, that 
he might escape all suspicion of aristocracy. I showed, 
my passports, and stated the right I had to depart as 
ambassadress of Sweden. Luckily, for me, Manuel ar- 
rived ; he was a man of good feelings, though he was 

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24 BIOGRAPHY OF 

hurried away by his passions. In an interview, a few 
days before, I had wrought upon his kind disposition so 
that he consented to save two victims of proscription. 
He immediately offered to become responsible for me ; 
and, conducting me out of that terrible place, he locked 
me up with my maid-servant in hb closet. Here we 
waited six hours, half dead with hunger and fright. The 
window of the apartment looked on the Place de Greve^ 
and we saw the assassins returning from the prisons, with 
their arms bare and bloody, and uttering horrible cries. 

' My coach with its baggage had remained in the mid- 
dle of the square. I saw a tall man in the dress of a na- 
tional guard, who for two hours defended it from the 
plunder of the populace ; I wondered how he could think 
of such trifling things amid such awful circumstances. In 
the evening, this man entered my room with Manuel. 
He was Santerre, the brewer, afterward so notorious for 
his cruelty. He had several times witnessed my father's 
distribution of com among the poor of the Fausehaurg 
St. Antoine^ and was willing to snow his gratitude. 

* Manuel bitterly deplored the assassinations that were 
going on, and which he had not power to prevent. An 
abyss was opened behind the steps of every man* who had 
acquired any authority, and if he receded he must fall 
into it. He conducted me home at night in his carriage ; 
being afraid of losing his popularity by doing it in the day. 
The lamps were not lighted in the streets, and we met 
men with torches, the glare of which was more frightful 
than the darkness. Manuel was often stopped and asked 
who he was, but when he answered Le Procureur de la 
Communey this Revolutionary dignity was respectfully 
recognized.' 

A new passport was given Madame de Stael, and she 
was allowed to depart with one maid-servant, and a gen^ 
€parme to attend her to the frontier. After some diffi- 
culties of a less alarming nature, she arrived at Coppet in 
safety. 

During the following year, her feelings were too pain- 
fully engrossed in watching the approaching political crisis, 
lo admit of her making any new literary exertion. 

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MADAME BB 8TASL. 25 

She and her hther having always strongljr advocated a 
constitutional form of government, felt identified with the 
cause of rational freedom, and watched the ruin of the hopes 
they had formed with sad earnestness and bitter regret. 

They have been frequently accused by their political 
enemies of having excited and encouraged the horrible 
disorders of the Revolution ; indeed the rancour of party* 
spirit went so far as to accuse Madame de Stael, — ^the 
glorious, the amiable Madame de Stael ! — of having been 
among the brutal mob at YersaiUes, disguised as a Pom- 
sarde. Nothing could in fact be more untrue than 
charges of this description. Zealous friends of the equal 
rights of man, M. Necker and his sagacious daughter saw 
plainly that a change was needed in the French govern- 
ment, and no doubt they touched the springs, which set 
the great machine in motion ; but they could not foresee 
its fnghtful accumulation of power, or the ruinous work 
to which it would be directed. The limited monarchy of 
England was always a favourite model with Madame de 
Stael. In her conversation, and in her writings she has 
declared that the French people needed such a form of 
government, and, sooner or later, they would have it. 

Had the character of Louis XVI. been adapted to the 
crisis in which he lived, her wishes might have been re- 
alized ; but she evinced her usual penetration when she 
said of that monarch, * He would have made the mildest 
of despots, or the most constitutional of kings ; but he 
was totally unfit for the period when public opinion was 
making a transition from one to the other.' To save the 
royal hmily from untimely death was the object of Ma- 
dame de Stael's unceasing prayers and efforts. Having 
been defeated in a plan to effect their e&cape from France, 
we find her, during this agitating period, silently awaiting 
the progress of events, which she dared not attempt to 
control ; but when Marie Antoinette was condemned to 
be beheaded, she could no longer restrain her agonized 
spirit. In August, 1 793, heedless of the danger she in- 
curred, she boldly published Reflections on the Process 
against the Queen. * A short but most eloquent appeal 
to the French nation, beseeching them to pause and re- 

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'26 BIOGBAPtlY OF 

fleet before tbey should thus cUagrace themselves with the 
world, and with posterit}'.' Hist<M^' ioforms us how en- 
tirely this and all other d»ioterested efforts failed to check 
the fury of the populace. The Bevolutioo rushed madly 
on in its infernal course of blood and crime. 

With the death of Gustavus III. there came a change 
of politics in Sweden. The Baron de Stael was again 
sent to Paris, the only ambassador from a monarchy to 
the new republic. Most of his old friends were proscrib- 
ed, or imprisoned, and many of them had p^ished on the 
scaffold ; even the family of bis wife did not dare to re- 
side in France. To secure popularity in his precarious 
situation, he gave three thousand francs to the poor of 
JLa Croix Rouge, a section particularly distinguished for 
its republicanism. He could not, however, feel secure 
amid the frightful scenes that were passing around him ; 
and he soon hastened back to Sweden, where he remain- 
ed until after the death of Kobespierre. For a short 
time, during these dreadful months, which have been so 
appropriately termed the Keign of Terror, Madame de 
Stael was in England ; and, what is remarkable, she was 
in England, poor ; for the situation of the two countries 
at that crisis prevented her receiving the funds necessary 
for her support. She lived in great retirement at Rich- 
mond, with two of her countrymen no less distinguished 
than Narbonne end Talleyrand, both, like herself, anx- 
iously watching the progress of a&irs in France, and hop- 
ing for some change that would render it safe for them 
to return. It is a curious item in the fickle cruelty of the 
KevolutioD) that these three persons, who during such a 
considerable portion of their lives, exercised an influence, 
not only on their country, but on the world, were now 
deprived of their accustomed means of subsistence ; and 
it IS worthy of notice, as a trait in their national charac- 
ter, that they were not depressed or discouraged by it. 

* All they had, when thrown into the common stock, 

was merely sufficient to purchase a kind of carriage, 

which would hold but two. As they rode about to see 

untry, Narbonne and Talleyrand alternately mount- 

^ootmen behind, breaking out the glass of the 

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MADAME 0B 8TAEL. 2? 

chtiise, in order to carry on a conversation with those 
inade. Madame de Stael has often said that in these 
conversations she has witnessed and enjoyed more of the 
play of the hiirhest order of talent than at any other pe- 
riod of her life. Talleyrand came from England to the 
United "States. Narbonne, if I mistake not, went to the 
continent ; and Madame de Stael ventured back to 
France, in 1 795.' Her husband was again ambassador 
at Paris, where he remained, calmly receiving the alter- 
nate insolence and flattery of the populace, until 1799'* 
when he was recalled by the young king, Gustavus Adol- 
phus. All beneath the surface in France was^ at thaft 
time, heaving and tumultuous; but men had been «o 
terrified and wearied with the work of blood, that society 
was for a time restored to external stillness. 

' At such a period, a mind like Madame de Stael's had 
a powerful influence. Her saloon was a resort for all the 
restless politicians of the day, and she was once denounc- 
ed to the Convention as a person dangerous to the state ; 
but her character, as wife of a foreign ambassador, pro- 
tected her; and she even ventured to. publish a pamphlet 
on the prospect of peace, addressed to Mr. Pitt and the 
French people, which contained remarks opposed to the 
views of the reigning demagogue. This pamphlet was 
much praised by Mr. Fox in the English Parliament. 

The principal charge brought against her, by the Di- 
rectory, was the courage and zeal with which she served 
the suffering emigrants: she would have been imprisoned 
on this account, had it not been for the friendly exertions 
of Barras. 

One day, an emigrant, whose brother was arrested and 
condemned to be shot, came in great agitation to beg her 
to save his life. She recollected that she had some ac- 
quaintance with General Lemoine, who had a right to 
suspend the judgments of the military commission. 
Thanking Heaven for the idea, she instantly went to his 
house. 

At first he abruptly refused her petition. She says, 
* My heart throbbed at the sight of that brother, who 
might think that I was not employing the words best ^t- 

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28 BIOGRAPHY or 

ted to obtain what I asked. I was afraid of saying too 
much or too little ; of losing the fatal hour, after which 
all would be over ; or of neglecting an argument, which 
might prove successful. I looked by turns at the dock 
and the General to see whether his soul or time would 
approach the term most quickly. Twice he took the pen 
to sign a reprieve, and twice the fear of committing him- 
self restrained him. At last, he was unable to refuse us ; 
and may Heaven shower blessings on him for the deed. 
The reprieve arrived in season, and innocence was saved 1 ' 

In 1796, Madame de Stael was summoned to Coppet 
to attend the death-bed of her mother. She has given 
us a very interesting account of her father's unwearied 
tenderness toward his dying wife, in the Preface to 
M. Necker's MSS. published by her after his death. 
She remained to soothe her father under his severe af- 
fliction, for nearly a year. During this time, she wrote 
her Essay oii the Passions, divided into two parts : 1st, 
their Influence on the Happiness of Individuals ; 2d, on 
the Happiness of Nations. This work was suggested by 
the fearful scenes pf the French Revolution, and proba- 
bly could not have been written except by one who had 
witnessed the reckless violence and unnatural excitement 
of that awful period. It bears the marks of her peculiar 
strength, originality, and fervour ; but it is accused of 
great metaphysical obscurity, and of presenting too dark 
and lurid a picture of the human mind. Mr. Jefirey, in a 
review of Madame de Stael, says, ' She always represents 
men a great deal more unhappy, more depraved, and 
more energetic, than they are ; she varnishes all her pic- 
tures with the glare of an extravagant enthusiasm.' 

This is undoubtedly just ; but it is excused by the 
peculiar circumstances of the times in which she lived, 
acting on her ardent feelings and powerful imagination. 
No one but a vritness of the French Revolution could 
have ranked a love of guilt and violence among the inhe- 
rent passions of our nature. 

The second part, intended to embrace the principal 
object of the work, was never finished. 

We have already mentioned that Madame de StaeFs 

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MADAME DEJSTAEL. 29 

affections were supposed to have small share in her mar- 
riage. The coolness of her feelings toward the Baron 
de Stael was considerably increased by his heedless ex- 
travagance. On his wedding-day he is said to have as- 
signed all his ministerial allowance to his friend, Count 
Fersen; and the princely dowry he received with his 
wife was soon nearly dissipated by his thoughtless expen- 
diture. Such was the embarrassment of his aflfairs, that 
Madame de Stael thought it a duty to place herself and 
her three children under the protection of her father. 
Thus the projectors of this match met the usual fate of 
those, who attempt to thwart nature, and take destiny 
out of the hands of Providence : it not only made the 
parties wretched, but it did not even serve the ambitious 
purposes for which the sacrifice is supposed to have been 
made. 

Her separation from her husband was not of long con- 
tinuance. Illness, and approaching age required a wife's 
attentions ; and Madame de Stael, true to the kind im- 
pulses of her generous nature, immediately returned to 
him. As soon as he could bear remo\^l, she attempted, 
by slow journeys, to bring him to her father's residence, 
that she and her children might make the evening of his 
days as cheerful as possible. It was, however, destined 
to be oijierwise ; he died at Poligni, on his way to Cop- 
pet, May 9th, 1802. 

* Madame de Stael's Essays on the Passions led her 
mind to a series of inquiries, which ended in her cele- 
brated Essay on Literature, considered in its relations 
with the Social Institutions. She devoted four years of 
severe labour to this work. It was begun at Coppet in 
1796, and published in 1 800. This great subject is di- 
vided into two parts: 1st, the Influence of Religion, 
Manners and Laws on Literature, with the reciprocal In- 
fluence of Literature on Religion, Manners and Laws ; 
and 2d, the existing state and future prospects of all in 
France at the time she wrote. It is a bold and powerful 
review, by masses, of the relation of society to literature 
and of literature to society, from the time of Homer to 
the year 1789- The theory of the perfectibility of the 

NO. XV. M Digitized by ^^uJ^fc 



30 BIOGIIAPHY OF 

human race, early struck the imagination of Madttne de 
Stael; and her efforts to prove this theory by the history 
of the world, and the progress of literature, has led her 
into difficulties, and mistakes in this important work ; it 
is, however, a beautiful whole, and deservedly placed her 
in the first rank among the writers of the age. 

< Immediately after the completion of this remarkaUe 
book, Madame de Stael went to Paris, where she arrived 
on the 9th of November, 1799 — the very day that placed 
the destiny of France in the hands of Bonaparte.' Her 
imagination seems to h&ve been, at first, dwzled by the 
military gl(»*y of Napoleon. Lavalette was introduced to 
her at Talleyrand's, at the time when every body was 
talking of the brilliant campaigns in Italy. He says, ' Dur- 
ing dinner, the praises Madame de Stael lavished on the 
conqueror of Italy, had all the wildness, romance, and 
exaggeration of poetry. When we left the table, the 
company withdrew to a small room to look at the por- 
trait of the hero ; and as I stepped back to let her walk 
in, she said, << How shall I dare^ to pass before an aid- 
de-camp of Bonaparte ! " My concision was so great 
that she also fell a little of it, and Talleyrand laughed 
at us. 

In,her work on the French Revolution, she says, * It 
was with a sentiment of great admiration that I first saw 
Bonaparte at Paris. I could not find words to reply to 
him when he came to me to say that he had sought my 
father at Coppet, and regretted having passed through 
Switzerland without seeing him. But when I was a little 
recovered <rom the confusion of admiration, a strongly - 
marked sentiment of fear succeeded. He, at that time, 
had no power ; the fear he inspired was caused only by 
the singular effect of his person upon nearly all who w^- 
.proached him. . par from recovering my confidence at 
seeing him more frequently, he constantly intimidated 
me more and more. I had a confused feeling that no 
emotion of the heart could act upon him. He regarded 
a human being as a thing, not as a fellow- creature. For 
him nothing existed but himself. Every time he spoke, 
I was struck with his superiority ; his discourse had no 
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MADAME D£ STAEL. 31 

simHitude to that of intellectual and cultivated men ; but 
it indicated an acute perception of circumstances, such as 
the sportsman has of the game he pursues. He related 
the political and military events of his life in a very inte- 
resting manner ; he had even something of Italian ima- 
gination in narratives which admitted of gaiety. But 
nothing could overcome my invincible aversion to what 
I perceived in his character. There was in him a pro- 
found irony, from which nothing grand or beautiful es- 
caped : his wit was like the cold, sharp sword in romance, 
which froze the wound it inflicted. I could never 
breathe freely in his presence. I examined him with 
attention ; but when he observed that my looks were 
fixed upon him, he had the art of taking away all expres- 
sion from his eyes, as if they had been suddenly changed 
to marble.' 

Notwithstanding these feelings of fear and distrust, 
Madame de Stael seems to have been willing to produce 
an impression upon the First Consul. This might have 
originated in ambition to obtain the confidence of a man 
likely to possess so much political power ; or in vanity, 
slightly piqued by the indifference with which he treated 
her, in common with all other women ; for indifference 
was a thing to which Madame de Stael was entirely un- 
accustomed. 

Sir Walter Scott tells us, that she once asked Bona- 
parte, rather abruptly, in the middle of a brilliant party 
at Talleyrand's, * whom he considered the greatest wo- 
man in the world, alive or dead ? ' * Her, madam, who 
has borne the most children,' replied Bonaparte, with 
much appearance of simplicity. Disconcerted by the 
reply, she observed, that ' he was reported not to be a 
great admirer of the fair sex.' ' I am very fond of my 
wife, madam,' he replied, with one of those brief yet pi- 
quant observations, which adjourned a debate as promptly 
as one of his characteristic manoeuvres would have ended 
a battle. 

According to Bourrienne, this sort of abruptness to- 
wards ladies was nothing unusual in Napoleon. He tells 
us that he often indulged in such rude exclamations as 

163 

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32 BIOGRAPHY OF 

the foUowing, — * How red your elbows are ! ' * What a 
strange head-dress you wear ! ' * Pray, tell me if yoa 
ever change your gown ! ' &c. 

An anecdote Madame de Stael herself tells in her ten 
yejurs* exile, betrays s^ wish that Bonaparte should at least 
be afraid of her talents. * I was invited to General Ber- 
thier's one day,* says she, * when the First Consul was to 
be of the party. As I knew he had expressed himself 
unfavourably about me, it occurred to me, that he might 
accost me with some of those rude expressions, which he 
often took pleasure in addressing to ladies, even when 
they paid court to him ; for this reason, I wrote a num- 
ber of tart and piquant repKes to what I supposed he 
might say. Had he chosen to insult ipe, it would have 
shown a want both of character and understanding to 
have been taken by surprise ; and as no person could be 
sure of being unembarrassed in ♦the presence of such a 
man, I prepared myself beforehand to brave him. For- 
tunately, the precaution was unnecessary ; he only ad- 
dressed the most common questions to me.' 

In fact, to Bonaparte's habitual contempt of women, 
was added some fear of Madame de Stael's penetration, 
as well as her politics. * He was disposed to repel the 
advances of one, whose views were so shrewd, and her 
observation so keen, while her sex permitted her to push 
her inquiries farther than one man might have dared to 
do in conversation with another.' 

Besides all this, she was the only writer of any noto- 
riety in France, who had never in any way alluded to 
him or his government ; and, like her, he probably would 
have preferred sarcasm to silence. Moreover, Bonaparte, 
for a great man, had some very little feelings ; and per- 
haps he indulged somewhat of jealousy toward one of the 
weaker sex, who in his own capital was such a powerful 
competitor for fame. 

He judged rightly when he supposed that her great 
abilities would all be exerted in opposition to his ambi- 
tious views. * Her peculiar position in society brought 
her in contact with almost every person of rank and in- 
fluence ; and this, united with her own uncommon saga- 
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MADAME DE STAEL. 33 

city, soon enabled her to discover his real character and 
intentions. From the moment she understood him, she 
became one of the most active and determined of his op- 
posers.' In the beginning of his reign, when policy com- 
pelled him to be gradual in his usurpation of power, she 
was not a little troublesome to him. In the organization 
of the new government, she is said to have fairly out-ma- 
noeufred him, and to have placed the celebrated Benja- 
min Constant in one of the assemblies, in spite of his ef- 
forts to the ^ontrary. 

Bonaparte kept close watch upon her ; and his spies 
soon informed him that people always left Madame de 
8tael's house with less confidence in him, than they had 
when they entered it. 

Joseph Bonaparte said to her, ' My brother complains 
of you. He asked me yesterday, " Why does not Ma- 
dame de Stael attach herself to my government ? Does 
she want the payment of her father's deposit ? I will 
give orders for it. Does she wish for a residence in 
Paris ? I wiU allow it her. In short, what is it that she 
wishes?"' Madame de Stael replied, * The question is 
not what I wwA, but what I thinks She says, * I know 
not whether Joseph reported this answer to Napoleon ; 
but if he did, I am certain he attached no meaning to it ; 
for he believes in the sincerity of no one's opinions : he 
considers every kind of morality as nothing more than a 
form, or as the regular means of forwarding selfish and 
ambitious views. 

* Integrity, whether encountered in individuals or na- 
tions, was the only thing for which he knew not how to 
calculate ; his artifices were disconcerted by honesty, as 
evil spirits are exorcised by the sign of the cross.' 

A zealous friend of liberty, so clear-sighted to his 
views, and so openly his enemy, was of course a very in- 
convenient obstacle in the path of Napoleon. Being anx- 
ious for a pretext to banish her, he seized upon the first 
that ofiFered, which happened to be the publication of a 
political pamphlet by her father, in 1802. On the pre- 
tence that she had contributed to the falsehoods, which he 
said it contjuned, he requested Talleyrand to inform her 

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34 BIOGRAPHY OF 

that she must quit Paris* This was- a delicate office for 
an old acquaintance to perform ; but Talleyrand was even 
then used to difficult positions. His politick history has 
proved that no fall, however precipitate, can bewilder the 
selfish acuteness of his faculties, or impair the marveUous 
pliancy of* his motions : his attachment to piacei rather 
than persons is another, and stronger point of resemblance, 
between him and a certain household animal. * 

An anecdote which has been often repeated is a good 
specimen of his diplomatic adroitness : Madame de Stael, 
being in a boat with him and Madame Grand, afterward his 
wife, put his gallantry to the proof by asking him * whidi 
he would try to save, if they should both chance to fall* 
in the water ?' ' My dear madam,' replied Talleyrand, * I 
should be so sure that ijou would know how to swim.* 

His characteristic finesse was shown in his manner of 
performing the embarrasing office assigned him by the 
First Consul. He called upon Madame de Stael, andj 
after a few compliments, said, ' I hear, madam, you are 
going to take a journey.' * Oh, no I it is a mistake, I 
have no such intention.' * Pardon me, I was informed 
that you were going to Switzerland.' * I have no sudi 
project, I assure you.' * But I have been told, on the best 
authority^ that you would quit Paris in three days.' Ma- 
dame de Stael took the hint, and went to Coppet. 

In the meantime, however, before she left Paris, she 
completed a novel in six volumes, under the title of Del- 
phine, which was published in 1 802. This work is an imi- 
tation of Rousseau's Nouvelle Heloise. Being written in 
the form of letters, it afforded facilities for embodying 
jinimated descriptions of Parisian society, and; the spark- 
ling sayings of the moment. But things of this sort, * like 
th6 rich wines of the south, though delicious in their na- 
tive soil, lose their spirit by transportation.' 

Delpbine is a brilliant and unhappy being, governed 
by her feelings, and misled by her haughty sense of free- 
dom. The reader at once suspects that under a slight 
veil of fiction, the author is her own heroine : and though 
there are some intentional points of difference, I presume 
that Delphine is a pretty correct portrait of Madame de 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 35 

StaeTsr impetuous and susceptible character at the time 
she iinrote it. < This book tias all the extravagance and 
immorality of the Nouvelle Heloise, but is inferior to its 
model in eloquence and enthusiasm.' 

In 1803, Madame de Stael ventured to reside within 
ten leagues of Paris, occasionally going there to visit the 
museum and the theatres. Some of her enemies in- 
formed Bonaparte that she received a great many visiters, 
and he immediately banished her to the distance of forty 
leagues from the capital; a -sentence which was rigorous- 
ly enforced. This severity excited the more remark as 
she was the first woman exiled by Bonaparte. A pane- 
gyrist of Napoleon has implied that she incurred his hat- 
red by persecuting him with her love ; that she was al- 
ways telling him none but an intellectual woman was fit 
to be his mate, that genius should unite with genius, &C 

This is unquestionably a fable. If she made such re- 
marks to the hero, it could not have been with a view to 
herself ; for he married Josephine several years before 
the death of the Baron de Stael. Her own account of 
her feelings towards Bonaparte is sufficiently frank and 
explicit to warrant our belief in its truth. 

Joseph Bonaparte, of whose uniform kindness Madame 
de Stael speaks very gratefully, interceded in her favour ; 
and his wife even dared to invite her to spend a few days 
at their country-seat, at the very time when she was the 
object of Napoleon's persecution. 

Bonaparte knew enough of Madame de Stael's charac- 
ter to be aware that an exile from Paris would be a most 
terrible calamity. The excitement of society was almost 
as necessary to her existence as the air she breathed ; re- 
luctant to relinquish it, she lingered near the metropolis 
as long as she dared, before taking her final departure for 
Switzerland. 

Nothing could be more intimate and delightful than 
the friendship between M. Necker and his highly-gifted 
daughter ; but notwithstanding the happiness she enjoyed 
in his society, and the delight she took in the education 
of her children, Madame de Stael sighed for the intel- 
lectual excitements of Paris. She had been so long ac- 

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36 BIOGRAPHY OF 

customed tp society, that it became an indispensable 
impulse to her genius and her gaiety. She reproached 
herself for these feelings, and made strong efforts to be- 
come habituated to the monotony of a secluded life. But 
she no longer seemed like herself. Madame de Stael, 
thus tamed, was no longer Madame de Stael. 

Her father, conscious how much she needed the exhi- 
larating influence of society, had always encouraged her 
visits to Paris ; and now that she was exiled from the 
scene of so many triumphs and so much enjoymenty^^e 
strongly favoured her project of visiting Germany. Ac- 
cordingly, in the winter of 1803, she went to Frankfort, 
Weimar, and Berlin. /At Frankfort, her daughter, then 
five years old, was taken dangerously ill. Madame de 
Stael knew no one in that city, and was ignorant of the 
language : even the physician to whose care she intrust- 
ed the child scarcely spoke a word of French. Speaking 
of her distress on this occasion, she exclaims, ' Oh, how 
my father shared with me in all my trouble ! What let- 
ters he wrote me ! What a number of consultations of 
physicians, all copied with his own hand, he sent me from 
Geneva !' 

The child recovered, and she proceeded to Weimar, 
so justly called the Athens of Germany ; and afterward 
to Berlin, where she was received with distinguished kind- 
ness by the king and queen, and the young prince Louis. 
At Weimar she writes, * I resumed my courage on seeing, 
through all the difficulties of the language, the immense 
intellectual riches that existed out of France. I learned 
to read German ; I listened attentively to Goethe and 
Wieland, who, fortunately for me, spoke French extreme- 
ly well. I comprehended the mind and genius of Schil- 
ler, in spite of the difficulty he felt in expressing himself 
in a foreign language. The society of the Duke and 
Duchess of Weimar pleased me exceedingly. I passed 
three months there, during which the study of German 
literature gave me all the occupation my mind required. 
My father wished me to pass the winter in Germany, and 
not return to him until spring. Alas ! alas ! how much 
I calculated on carrying back to him the harvest of new 
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MADAME DE STAEL. 37 

ideas which I was going to collect in this journey. He 
was frequently telling me that my letters and conversa- 
tion were all that kept up his connection with the world. 
His active and penetrating mind excited me to think, for 
the sake of the pleasure of talking to him. If I observed, 
it was to convey my impressions to him ; if I listened, it 
was to repeat to him.' 

M. de Bonstetten, who used to see her correspondence 
with her father, says, * The letters she wrote him had 
more spirit, ease, eloquence, and acuteness of observa- 
tion, than any thing she ever published.' It is deeply to 
be regretted that M. Necker, from motives of political 
caution, always burned these letters as soon as they had 
been seen by her most intimate friends. Madame de 
Saussure speaks of them as indescribably charming — ^full 
of striking anecdotes, and pictorial sketches. She says, 
< Nothing could surpass them, but Madame de Stael's 
first interviews with her father, after she had been sepa- 
rated from him by a temporary absence. The deep emo- 
tion, which she tried to repress, lest it should excite him 
too much, spread itself like a torrent over all her conver- 
sation. She talked of men and things — discussed go- 
vernments — and described the effects she herself had 
produced — ^with an eager joy, that continually overflowed 
in caresses and tears^ Every thing she recounted was 
made to bear some relation to him. The characters she 

{)ortrayed were brought in lively contrast with his intel- 
igence, his goodness, and his perfect integrity. How- 
ever foreign the subject, it always conveyed some indi- 
rect eulogium, or Some expression of tenderness, to her 
beloved father. What a paternal glory illuminated 
M. Necker's countenance as he looked and listened ! 
How joy sparkled in those eyes, which never lost the fire 
of youth I Not that he believed her lavish praise — ^but 
in it he read his daughter's heart, and his own delighted 
in her prodigious endowments.' 

The same lady relates the following anecdote, some- 
what laughable in itself, but interesting as a specimen of 
Madame de Stael's excessive sensibihty in every thing 
that related to her father : 

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38 BIOGBAPBY OF 

< M. Necker bad sent his carriage to Genera for the 
purpose of bringing myself and dbildren to Coj^et. It 
was evening when I left home, and the carriage was over- 
turned in a ditch. No one was injured ; but as it took 
some time to refit the carriage, it was quite late when we 
arrived at Coppet. Madame de Stael was alone in the 
parlour, anxiously awaiting our arrival. As soon as I 
began to speak of our accident, she eagerly interrupted 
me with, " How did you come ?* " In your father's car- 
riage.^ " Yes, yes, I know that — but who brought you ?* 
" Richard, the coachman." " Good Heavens!" she ex- 
claimed, <* what if he should upset my father I" 

* She rung the bell violently, and ordered the coach- 
man to be (»lled. The man oeing out of the' way, she 
was obliged to wait a moment, during which time she 
walked the room in great agitation. '* My poor feither !" 
she repeated, ^ what if he should be upset? At your 
age, and that of your diildren, it is nothing at all. But 
at his age — and so large as he is — and into a ditch, too ! 
Perhaps he would have remained there a long time, call- 
ing, and calling in vain. My poor father." 

* When the coachman appeared, I was very curious to 
see how ^he would find vent for her strong emotions ; for 
she was proverbially very kind and affable to her domes- 
tics* She advanced solemnly toward him, and in a voice 
somewhat stifled, but which gradually became very loud, 
she said, *^ Richard, have you ever heard that I have a 
great deal of talent ?" The man stared in amazement. 
" I say," she repeated, " do you know that I have a great 
deal of talent?" He remained silent, and confused. 
^< Learn then that I have talent, great talent — ^prodieious 
talent ! and I will make use of the whole of it, to Keep 
you shut up in a dungeon all your life, if you ever upset 
my father !"' 

Alas ! this sacred tie, the strongest, perhaps, that ever 
bound the hearts of parent and child, was soon to be 
burst asunder. At Berlin, M&dame de Stael was sud- 
denly stopped in her travels, by the news of her father's 
dangerous illness. She hastened back with an impatience 
that would fain have annihilated time and space; but he 

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MADAME DB STASL. 39 

died before she arrivied. This ev«ent hiropenedi in Apnl, 
1804. At first, she refused to believe nie tidings. She 
was herself so full of life^ that she could not realize death. 
Her father had such remarkable freshness of imaginationy 
such cheerfulness^ such entire sympathy with youthful 
feeling, that she forgot the difierenoe in their ages. She 
could not bear to think of him as old ; and once, when 
she heard a person call him so, she resented it highly, 
and said she never wished to see anybody who repeated 
such words. And now, when they told her that the old' 
man was gathered to his fathers, she cotild not, and she 
would not believe it. 

Madame de Saussure was at Coppet when M. Necker 
died ; and- as soon as her services to him were ended, 
she went to meet her friend, on her melanchdy' return 
from Germany, under the protection of M. de Schlegel, 
her son's German tutor. She says, the convulsive agony 
of her grief was absolutely fiightfol to witness ; it deemed 
as if life must have perished in the struggle. Her friends 
tried every art to soothe her ; and sometimes for a mo- 
ment she appeared to give herself up to her usual anima* 
tion and eloquence ; but her trembling hands, and quiv- 
ering lips soon betrayed the internal conflict, and the 
transient calm was succeeded by a^ violent burst of an- 
guish. Yet even during these trying moments, she dis'- 
played her characteristic kindness of heart : she con- 
stantly tried' to check her sorrow, that she might giv0 
such a turn to the conversation as would put M. de 
Schlegel at his ease, and enable him to show his great 
abilities to advantage. 

The impression produced upon Madame de Stael by 
her father's death seems to have been as deep and abid* 
ing, as it was powerful. Through her whole life, i^e^ 
carried him in her heart. She believed that his spirit 
was her guardian angel; and when her thoughts were 
most pure and elevated, she said it was because he was 
with her. She invoked him in her prayers, and when 
any happy event occurred, she used to say with a sort of 
joyful sadness, * My father has procured this for me.* 
His miniature became an object of superstitious love. 

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40 BIOGBAPRY OF 

Once, and only once, she parted with it, for a short time. 
Having herself found great consolation, during illness, in 
looking at those beloved features, she sent it to her sick 
daughter, imagining it would have the same effect upon 
her ; telling her in her letter, < Look upon that, and it 
will comfort you in your sufferings.' 

To the latest period of her life, the sight of an old man 
affected her, because it reminded her of her father ; and 
the lavishness with which she gave her sympathy and her 
purse to the distresses of the aged proved the fervour of 
her filial recollections. 

Though Madame de StaeFs thoughts had always been 
busy with the world, she was never destitute of religious 
sensibility. Conscious as she was of her intellectual 
strength, she did not attempt to wrestle with the myste- 
ries of God. Her beautiful mind inclined rather to re- 
verence and superstition than to unbelief. No doubt, 
religion was with her more a matter of feeling, than of 
feith ; but she respected the feeting, and never suffered 
the pride of reason to expel it from her heart. There is 
something beautifully pathetic in the exclamation that 
burst from her, when her little daughter was dangerously 
ill at Frankfort : ' Oh, what would become of a mother, 
trembling for the life of her child, if it were not for 
prayer!' 

Her father's death gave a more permanent influence 
to such feelings. If I may use the expression, her cha- 
racter became less volcanic, while it lost nothing of its 
power. 

Anxious to be to her children what he had been to her, 
she spared no pains to impress them with what was ex- 
cellent in his character. She frequently read with them 
moral and religious books. The writings of Fenelon af- 
forded her great consolation and delight ; and during the 
last years of her life, the * Imitation of Jesus Christ,' by 
Thomas a Kempis, was her fsivourite volume. •She was a 
most affectionate and devoted mother, and singularly be- 
loved by her children. On this subject we have the tes- 
timony of her daughter, the Duchess de Broglie, who in 
talent and character is said to be worthy of her high de- 
172 

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MADAME DB STAEL. 41 

scent. She says, ' My mother attached great importance 
to our happiness in childhood, and affectionately shared 
ail our little griefs. When I was twelve years old, she 
used to talk to me as to an equal ; and nothing gave me 
such delight as half an hour's intimate conversation with 
her. It elevated me at once, gave me new life, and in- 
spired me with courage in all my studies. She herself 
heard my lessons every day ; she would not procure a 
governess, even in the midst of her greatest troubles. 
She taught us to love and pity her, without ever di- 
minishing our reverence. Never was there a mother 
who at once inspired so much confidence, and so much 
respect.' 

During the life- time of M. Necker, Madame de Stael 
remained in childish ignorance of all the common affiurs 
of life. She was in the habit of applying to him for ad- 
vice about every thing, even her dress. The unavoida- 
ble result was that she was very improvident. Her fa- 
ther used to compare her to a savage, who would sell his 
hut in the morning, without thinking what would become 
of him at night. 

When her guide and support was taken from her, no 
wonder that she felt as if it would be absolutely impossi- 
ble for her to do any thing without him. For a short 
time she gave herself up to the most discouraging fancies. 
She thought her fortune would be wasted, her children 
would not be educated, her servants would not obey her, 
— ^in short, that every thing would go wrong. But her 
anxiety to do every thing as he would have done it, gave 
her a motive for exertion, and inspired her with strength. 
She administered upon his estate with remarkable ability, 
and arranged her affairs with a most scrupulous regard to 
the future interests of her children. 

Her first literary employment after the death of her 
father was a tribute to his memory. * She collected his 
MSS. and plblished them, accompanied with a most elo- 
quent and interesting memoir, full of the first deep im- 
pressions of her sorrow.' M. Constant, the celebrated 
statesman and writer, has said of this preface, ^ Perhaps 
I deceive mys^; but those pages appear to me more 

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42 BIOGSAPHY OF 

lUtely to lead one to a true knowledge of her character, 
and to endear her to those who knew her not, than her 
most eloquent writings on any other subject ; for her 
whole mind and heart are there displayed. The delicacy 
of her perceptions, the astonishing variety of her thought, 
the ardour of her eloquence, the weight of her judgment, 
the reality of her enthusiasm, her love of liberty and jus- 
tice, her passionate sensibility, the melancholy which of- 
ten marked even her purely literary writings ; — all these 
are concentrated here, to express a single feeling, to call 
forth the sympathy of others in a single sentiment. No- 
where else has she treated a subject, with all the resources 
of her intellect, all the depth of her feeling, and without 
being diverted by a single thought of a less absorbing 
mature.' 

When this occupation was finished, her desolate heart 
fed upon its own feelings, until she could no longer en- 
dure the melancholy associations inspired by every thing 
around her. 

Her health as well as her spirits sunk rapidly under 
the oppression of grief. Her firiends'advised new scenes 
and change of climate. Paris was still closed against her ; 
though M. Necker, with his dying hand, had written to 
assure Bonaparte that his daughter had no share in his 
political pamphlet, and to beseech that her sentence of 
exile might be repealed after his death. 

Thus situated, her thoughts turned toward Italy. 
Sismondi accompanied her in this journey. They arrived 
just when the fresh glory of a southern spring mantled 
the earth and the heavens. She found a renovating influ- 
ence in the beautiful sky and the balmy climate of this 
lovely land, which she, with touching superstition, ascrib- 
ed to the intercession of her father. * She passed more 
than a year in Italy ; visiting Milan, Venice, Florence, 
Rome, Naples, and other more inconsiderable cities, with 
lively interest and great minuteness of obsecration. The 
impression produced by her talent and character is still 
fresh in the memories of those who saw her.' 

She returned to Switzerland in the summer of 1805, 
and passed a year among her friends at Coppet and Ge- 
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MADAME DE STAEL. 43 

neva; during this period she began Corinna^ the splendid 
record -nrhich she has left the world of Her visit to Italy. 
This worjt was published in 1802, and perhaps obtained 
more extensive and immediate fame than any thing she 
ever wrote. It was received with one burst of applause 
by all the literati of Europe. Mr. Jeffrey, in his review 
of it, pronounced Madame de Stael < the greatest writer 
in France, after the time of Voltaire and Rousseau ; and 
the greatest female writer of any age, or country.' 

Like Rousseau ^and Byron, Madame de >Stael wrote 
from the impulses of her own heart, and threw something 
of herself into all her fictions. In Corinna, * a child of 
the sun,' all genius and sensibility, for ever departing from 
the line marked out by custom, and mourmng over her 
waywardness as if it were guilt, we at once recognize 
Madame de Stael herself, with all her sweeping energies 
and irresistible inspiration. This book is characterized 
in an eminent degree by Madame de Stael's peculiar ex^ 
cellencies, grandeur and pathos. As a national painting 
it is more fascinating than as a romance : Italy, in all the 
freshness of its present beauty, and the iftagnificence of 
its glorious recollections, is perfectly embalmed by her 
genius. 

Her eldest son, Augustus, Baron de Stael, was at this 
time in Paris, pursuing his studies preparatory to enter- 
ing the Polytechnic school ; and after the completion of 
Corinna, Madame de Stael, in order to be as near him 
as possible, went to reside at Auxerre, and afterward at 
Rouen, from whence she could daily send to Paris. 
She led a very retired life, and was extremely prudent 
about intermeddling with politics ; those, who had any- 
thing to hope or to fear from the Emperor, did not dare 
to maintain any intercourse with her ; and of course she 
was not thronged with visiters, in those days of despot- 
ism and servility ; all she wished, was liberty to superin- 
tend the publication of Corinna, and to watch over the 
education of her son. 

But all this moderation and caution did not satisfy 
Bonaparte. He wanted to interdict her writing any 
thing, even if it were, like Corinna, totally unconnected 



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44 BIOGRAPHY OP 

with poHtics. She was again banished from France ; 
and, by a sad coincidence, she received the order on the 
ninth of April, the anniversary of her father's death. 
When she returned to Coppet, all her movements were 
watched by the spies of government, so that existence 
became a complete state of bondage. To use her own 
words, she was ' tormented in all the interests and rela- 
tions of life, and on all the sensible points of her charac- 
ter.' She still had warm and devoted friends, who could 
not be withdrawn from her by motives of interest, or 
fear ; but with all the consolations of fame and friend- 
ship, it was sufficiently inconvenient and harassing to be 
thus fettered and annoyed. 

As a means of employing her mind, which, ever since 
the death of her father, had been strongly prone to in- 
dulge in images of gloom and terror, Madame de Stael 
industriously continued the study of German Hterature 
and philosophy. Her acquaintance with M. de Schlegel 
and M. Villers (the author of an admirable book on Uie 
Reformation, which obtained the prize from the French 
Academy,) afforded her remarkable facilities for perfect- 
ing herself in the German language. Her first visit had 
brought her into delightful companionship with most of 
the great minds in North Germany ; but she deemed it 
necessary to visit the South, before she completed a 
work, which she had long had in contemplation. In 
company with her beautiful friend, Madame Recamier, 
she passed the winter of 1807 at Vienna, receiving the 
same flattering distinctions frt>m the great and the gifted, 
which had everywhere attended her footsteps. 

She began her celebrated book on Germany in the 
country itself, and surrounded by every fisudlity for givii^ 
a correct picture of its literature, manners, and national 
character ; as we have just stated, she made a second vi- 
sit, for the purpose of more thorough investigation ; and 
she devoted yet two more years to it afterfher return ; 
making a period of about sui years from the time of its 
commencement to its final completion. It is true, this 
arduous labour was not continued uninterruptedly : she 
had in the meanwhile, made her visit to Italr, and wril- 
176 

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MADAME DE STAEL, 45 

ten Corinna ; and while she was employed with her great 
work on Germany, she composed and played at Coppet 
the greater part of the little pieces, which are now col- 
lected in the sixteenth volume of her works, under the 
title of Dramatic Eissays. At the beginning of the sum- 
mer of 1810, she finished the three volumes of Germa- 
ny, and went to * reside just without forty leagues from 
Paris, in order to superintend its publication. She says, 
* I fixed myself at a farm called Fosse, which a generous 
friend lent me. The house was inhabited by a Vendean 
soldier, who certainly did not keep it in the nicest order, 
hut who had a loyal good^nature that made every thing 
easy, and an originality of character that was very amus- 
ing. Scarcely had we arrived, when an Italian musician, 
whom I had with me to give lessons to my daughter, be- 
gan playing updn the guitar; and Madame Recamier's 
sweet voice accompanied my daughter upon the harp. 
The peasants collected round the windows, astonished to 
hear this colony of troubadours, which had come to en- 
liven the solitude of their master. Certainly this inti- 
mate assemblage, this solitary residence, this agreeable 
occupation, did no harm to any one. We had imagined 
the idea of sitting round a green table after dinner, and 
vniting letters to each other instead of conversing. 
These varied and multiplied tetes-d-tStes amused us so 
much, that we were impatient to get from table, where 
we were talking, in order to go and write to one another. 
When any strangers came in, we could not b^ar the in- 
terruption of our habits ; and our penny-post always 
went its round. The inhabitants of the neighbouring 
town were somewhat astonished at these new manners, 
and looked upon them as pedantic ; though, in fact, it 
was merely a resource against the monotony of solitude. 
One day a gentleman, who had never thought of any 
thing in his life but hunting, came to take my boys with 
him into the%oods ; he remained some time seated at our 
active, but silent table. Madame Recamier wrote a little 
note to this jolly sportsman, in order that he might not 
be too much a stranger to the circle in which he was 
placed. He excused himself from receiving it, assuring 

NO. XV. N , ;., ,J,77 

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46 BIOGRAPHY OF 

08 that he never could read wiiUng by daylight. We 
afterward laughed not a little at the disappointment our 
beautiful friend had met with in her benevolent coquet- 
ry ; and thought that a billet from her hand would not 
often have met such a fate. Our life passed in this quiet 
manner ; and, if I may judge by myself, none of us found 
it burdensome. 

* I wished to go and see the Opera of Cinderilla re- 
presented at a paltry provincial theatre at Blois. Com- 
ing out of the theatre on foot, the people followed me in 
crowds, more from curiosity to see the woman Bonaparte 
had exiled, than from any other motive. This kind of 
celebrity, which I owed to misfortune much more than 
to talent, displeased the minister of police, who wrote to 
the Prefect of Loire that I was surrounded by a court. 
♦* Certainly," said I to the Prefect, " it is not power that 
gives me a court." 

* On the 23d of September, I corrected the last proof 
of Germany ; after six years* labour, I felt great delight 
in writing the word end, I made a list of one hundred 
persons to whom I wished to send copies in different parts 
of Europe.' The work passed the censorship prescribed 
by law, and Madame de Stael, supposing every thing was 
satisfactorily arranged, went with her family to visit her 
friend M. de Montmorency, at his residence about five 
leagues from Blois. This gentleman could claim the old- 
est hereditary rank of any nobleman in France ; being 
able to trace back his pedigree, through a loi>g line of 
glorious ancestry, to the first Baron of Christendom, in 
the time of Charlemagne. Madame de Stael says, * He 
was a pious man, only occupied in this world with making 
himself fit for heaven ; in his conversation with me he 
never paid any attention to the affairs of the day, but only 
sought to do good to my soul.' 

Madame de Stael, after having passed a delightful day 
amid the magnificent forests and historical "recollections 
of this ancient castle, retired to rest. In the night, M. de 
Montmorency was awakened by the arrival of Augustus, 
Baron de Stael, who came to inform him that his mother's 
book on Germany was likely to be destroyed, in conse- 
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MADAME DB STAEL. 4? 

quence of a n€w edict, which had very much the appear- 
ance of being made on purpose for the occasion. Her 
son, as soon as he had done his errand, left M . de Mont- 
morency to soften the blow as much as possible, but to 
urge his mother to return immediately after she had 
taken breakfast ; he himself went back before daylight 
to see that her papers were not seized by the imperial 
police. Luckily, the proof-sheets of her valuable work 
were saved. Some further notes on Germany she had 
with her in a small portable desk in the carriage. As 
they drew near her habitation she gave the desk to her 
youngest son, who jumped over a wall, and carried it into 
the house through the garden. Miss Randall, an English 
lady, an excellent and much beloved friend, came to meet 
her on the road, to console her as much as she could un- 
der this great disappointment. A file of soldiers were 
sent to her publisher's, to destroy every sheet of the ten 
thousand copies that had been printed. She was required 
to give up her MSS. and quit France in twenty-four hours. 
In her Ten Years' Exile, Madame de Stael dryly remarks, 
* It was the custom of Bonaparte to order conscripts and 
women to be in readiness to quit France in twenty-four 
hours.' 

She had given up some rough notes of her work to the 
police, but the spies of government had done their duty 
so well, that they knew there was a copy saved ; they 
could tell the exact number of proof- sheets that had been 
sent to her by the publisher, and the exact number she 
had returned. She did not pretend to deny the fact ; 
but she told them she had placed the copy out of her 
hands, and that she neither could nor would put it in their 
power. 

The severity used on this occasion was as unnecessary 
as it was cruel, for her book on Germany contained no- 
thing to give ofiFence to the government. Indeed the 
only fault pretended to be found with it was that it was 
purely literary, and contained no mention of the Emperor 
or his wars in that country. 

The minister of police gave out^ * in corsair terms, 
that if Madame de Stael, on her return to Coppet, ^ould 

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48 BIOGRAPHY OP 

venture one foot within forty leagues of Paris, she was « 
good prize* When arrived at Coppet, she received ex- 
press orders not to go more than four leagues from her 
own house ; and this was enforced with so much rigour, 
that having one daj accidentally extended her ride a 
little heyond her limits, the military police were sent full 
speed to bring her back. 

If Napoleon felt flattered that all the sovereigns of 
£urope were obliged to combine to keep one man on a 
barren island, MacUime de Stael might well consider it no 
small compliment for one woman to be able to indpire with 
fear the mighty troubler of the world's peace.* 

She was often informed by the creatures of government 
that she might easily put an end to the inconveniences 
she suffered, by publishing a few pages in praise of the 
emperor ; but Madame de Sta^l, though her exile had 
cost her many, many hours of depression and anxiety^ 
was too noble thus to bow the knee to a tyrant, whom 
her heart disliked, and her conscience disapproved. 

When the prefect of Geneva urged her to celebrate in 
verse the birth of the king of Rome, she told him that if 
she did such a ridiculous thing, she ^ould confine herself 
to wishing him a good nurse. 

M. de Schlegel, who for eight years had been the tu- 
tor of her sons, was compelled to leave Switzerland. The 
best pretence the prefect could invent, on the spur of the 
occasion, was, that he was not French in his feeling, be- 
cause he preferred the Phedra of Euripides to the Phe- 
dra of Racine. The real fact was, Bonaparte knew that 
his animated conversation cheered her solitude, and that 
to deprive her of society was almost to deprive her of 
life. 

Few in this selfish world would visit one, who thus 
* carried about with her the contagion of misfortune ;' 
and she was even fearful of writing to her friends, lest she 

'. Bonaparte dreaded an epigram, pointed against himself, more 
flian he dreaded * infernal machines.' When he was told that no 
woman, however talented, could shake the foundation of his power, 
h^ replied, * Madame de Stael carries a quiver full of arrows, that 
would hit a man if he were seated on a rainbow.' 
180 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 49 

should in some way implicate them in her own difficulties. 
In the midst of these perplexities, her true friend, M. de 
Montmorency, came to make her a visit ; she told him 
jsuch a proof of friendship would offend the emperor ; but 
he felt safe in the consciousness of a life entirely secluded 
from any connection with public affairs. The day after 
his arrival, they rode to Fribourg, to see a convent of 
nuns, of the dismal order of La Trappe. She says, * We 
reached the convent in the midst of a severe shower, af- 
ter having been obliged to come nearly a mile on foot. 
I rung the bell at the gate of the cloister ; a nun appear* 
ed behind the lattice opening,^ through which the portress, 
may speak to strangers. " What do you want ?" said 
she, in a voice vrithout modulation, such as we might sup- 
pose that of a ghost. ^< I should like to see the interior 
of the convent." « That is impossible,** she replied. " But 
I am very wet, and want to dry my dress." She immedi- 
ately touched a spring, which opened the door of an 
outer apartment, in which I was allowed to rest myself^ 
but no living creature appeared. In a few minutes, im- 
patient at not being able to penetrate the interior of 
the convent, after my long walk, I rung again. T]^e 
same person re-q)peared. I asked her if females were 
never admitted into the convent. She answered, " only 
when they had the intention of becoming nuns." 

* " But," said I, " how can I tell whether I should like 
to remain in your house, if I am not permitted to see it?" 
" Oh, that is quite useless," she replied, " I am very sure 
that you have no vocation for our state ;"'and with these 
words she immediately shut her wicket.* ^ ]^^adame "de 
Stael says she knows not how this nun discovered her 
worldly disposition, unless it were by fier quick* niapner 
of speaking, so different from their owni "'rh6se who look 
at Madame de Stael's portrait, will n<s^ wond^^at tike 
nun*s penetration: it needs but a singly glance at hef ' 
bright dark eye, through which one can fepk s/6 cte^ly 
into the depths of an ardent and busy soul, to be'^cpnr 
vinced that she was not made for the solitude and austeri- 
ties of La Trappe. 

Being disappointed in getting a sight of the nuns, Ma- 

181 

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50 BIOGRAPHY OF 

dame de SUel proposed (o her son and M. de Montmo- 
rency to go to the famous cascade of Bex, where the wa- 
ter falls from a very lofty mountain. This heing just 
within the French territory, she, without being aware of 
it, infringed upon her sentence of exile. The prefect 
blamed her very much, and made a great merit of not in- 
forming the Emperor that she had been in France. She 
says she might have told him, in the words of La Fon- 
taine's fable, ' I grazed of this meadow the breadth of my 
tongue.' Bonaparte, finding that Madame de Stael wise- 
ly resolved to be as happy as she could, determined to 
make her home a solitude, by forbidding all persons to 
visit her. 

Four days after M. de Montmorency arrived at Cop- 
pet, he was banished from France ; for no other crime 
than having dared to offer the consolation of his society 
to one, who had been his intimate friend for more thac^ 
twenty years, and by whose assistance he had escaped 
from the dangers of the Revolution. 

Madame Recamier, being at that time on her way to 
the waters of Aix in Savoy, sent her friend word that she 
should stop at Coppet. Madame de Stael despatched a 
courier to beseech her not to come ; and she wept bit- 
terly, to think that her charming friend was so near her, 
without the possibility of obtaining an interview : but Ma- 
dame Recamier, conscious that she had never meddled 
with politics, was resolved not to pass by Coppet without 
seeing her. Instead of the joy that had always welcom- 
ed her arrival, she was received with a torrent of tears. 
She staid only one night ; but, as Madame de Stael had 
feared, the sentence of exile smote her also. * Thus re- 
gardless,' says she, * did the chief of the French people, 
so renowned for their gallantry, show himself toward the 
most beautiful woman in Paris. In one day he smote 
virtue and distinguished rank in M. de Montmorency, 
beauty in Madame Recamier, and, if I dare say it, the re- 
putation of high talents in myself.' 

Not only Frenchmen, but foreigners, who wished to 
visit a writer of so much celebrity, were informed that 
they must not enter her house. The minister of the po- 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 51 

lice said he would have a soldier's guard mounted at the 
bottom of the avenue, to arrest whoever attempted to go 
to Coppet. 

Every courier brought tidings of some friend exiled for 
having dared to keep up a correspondence with her ; even 
her sons were forbidden to enter France, without a new 
permission from the police. In this cruel situation Ma- 
dame de Stael could only weep for those friends, who 
forsook her, and tremble for, those, who had the courage 
to remain faithful. But nothing could force from her one 
Une of flattery to the Emperor. 

Her friends urged her to go beyond the power of her 
enemy ; saying, ' If you remain, he will treat you as 
Elizabeth did Mary Stuart ; nineteen years of misery, and 
the catastrophe at last.* And she herself says, * Thus to 
carry about with me the contagion of calamity, to be a 
burden on the existence of my children, to fear to write 
to' those I love, or even to mention their names — this is a 
situation from which it is necessary to escape, or die.' 

But she hesitated, and lingered long before she deter- 
mined to leave the tomb of her father, where she daily 
offered up her prayers for support and consolation. Be- 
sides, a new feeling had at this period gained dominion 
over her. At Geneva, she had become acquainted with 
Albert- Jean-Michel de Rocca, a young officer, just* re- 
turned wounded from the war of the Spanish Peninsula, 
whose feeble health, united with the accounts given of his 
brilliant courage, had inspired general interest. Madame 
de Stael visited him, as a stranger who needed the sooth- 
ing voice of kindness and compassion. The first words 
she uttered made him her ardent lover ; he talked of her in- 
cessantly. His friends represented to him the extreme 
improbability of gaining the affections of such a woman ; 
he replied, * I will love her so devotedly, that she cannot 
refuse to marry me.* 

M. de Rocca had great elevation of character; his 
conversation was highly poetic ; his affections ardent ; and 
his style of writing animated and graceful : * his senti- 

• In 1809 he published Campagne de Walcheren et <V-Anver8. 
In 1814 he published a very interesting book, which was reprinted 

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52 BIOGRAPHY OF 

mento toward her were of the most romantic and chiTaT- 
rous kind, — unbounded admiration was softened by ex- 
treme tenderness ; her desolate heart had lost the guardian 
and support of early life ; his state of health excited her 
pity ; and more than all, he offered to realize the dream 
she had always so fondly indulged — a marriage of lore. 

A strong and enduring attachment, sprung up between 
them, which, in 1811, resulted in a private wedding. 

The world, of course, will be disposed to smile at this 
union ; but for myself, I would much more willingly for- 
get her first marriage than her last. One originated in 
policy, and made her miserable ; the other was sanction- 
ed only by her own warm heart, and made her happy. 
In all things depending on themselves, the sunshine of 
their domestic love seems to have been without a shadow. 

The precarious state of M. de Rocca's health was a 
source of sorrow, which she felt with a keenness propor- 
tioned to the susceptibility of her character. She watch- 
ed over him with a patient, persevering attention, not a 
little remarkable in one to whom variety and activity were 
so necessary. When he was thought to be in danger, 
her anguish knew no bounds : she compared herself to 
Marshal Ney, when he expected sentence of death from 
one moment to another. In relation to this romantic af- 
fair, Madame de 9lael was guilty of the greatest weak- 
ness of her whole life. Governed partly by a timidity, 
which feared < the world's dread laugh,' and partly by a 
proud reluctance to relinquish the name she had made so 
glorious throughout Europe, she concealed the marriage 
A*om all but her children, and her most intimate friends. 
On every account, this is to be deeply regretted. It 
makes us blush for an instance of silly vanity in one so 
truly great ; and what is worse, the embarrassing situa- 
tion in which she tlius placed herself, laid her very open 
to the malice of her enemies, and the suspicions of the 
world. Scandalous stories promulgated by those, who 

in 181 7 » called Memoir e »ur la ffuerre des Fran^aia en Espagne. 
He left a novel in MS. called Le Mai du pays ; I do not know whe-> 
ther it was ever printed. 
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MADAME DE STAEL. 53 

either misunderstood, or wilfull j misrepresented her chaf* 
racter, are even now repeated, though clearly proved to 
be false by those who had the very best opportunities of 
observing her life. 

In her preference for the conversation of gentlemen, 
Madame de Stael had ever been as perfectly undisguised, 
as she was with regard to all her other tastes and opinio 
ons ; it was therefore natural that she should not be a 
general favourite with her own sex, though she found 
among women many of her most zealous and attached 
friends. 

The intellectual sympathy, which produced so 
delightful friendships between herself and distinguishe 
men of all countries, was naturally attributed, by ladiesl \ 
of inferior gifts, to a source less innocent ; and to tb' 
petty malice, was added strong political animosity, dark^l 
rancorous, unprincipled, and unforgiving. They even 
tried to make a crime of her residence in England, with 
Narbonne, and Talleyrand — as if those days of terror, 
when every man, woman, and child in France slept under 
the guillotine, was a time for even the most scrupulous 
to adhere to the laws of etiquette. 

After her marriage with M . de Rocca, Madame de 
Stael, happy in the retirement of her now cheerful home> 
and finding consolation in the warm affection of her chil- 
dren, indulged hopes that the government would leave 
her in peace. But Bonaparte, who no doubt heard some 
sort of account of the new attachment, which had given 
a fresh charm to her existence, caused her to be threat- 
ened with perpetual imprisonment. 

Unable any longer to endure this system of vexation^ 
she asked leave to Uve in Italy, promising not to publish 
a single line of any kind ; and with something of becom- 
ing pride, she reminded the officers of government thai 
it was the author of Corinna, who asked no other privi- 
lege than to live and die in Rome. But notwithstanding 
the strong claim which this beautiful work gave her to 
the admiration and indulgence of her countrymen, that 
request was refused. 
. Napoleon, in one of his conversations at St. Helena, 

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54 BIOGRAPHY OF 

excuses his uninterrupted persecution of Madame de Stael, 
by saying, that < she was an ambitious, intriguing woman, 
\nio would at any time have thrown her friends into the 
sea, for the sake of exercising her energy in saving them/ 

No doubt there was much truth in this accusation. 
From her earliest childhood, Madame de Stael had 
breathed the atmosphere of politics ; and she lived at an 
exciting period, when an active mind could scarcely for- 
bear taking great interest in public affairs. * She was an 
avowed enemy to the imperial government ; but, though 
she spoke her mind freely, we do not hear of her as en- 
gaged in any conspiracies, or even attempting to form a 
party. 

At her Swiss retreat, when he was omnipotent in 
France, and she was powerless, it certainly was safe to 
leave her in the peaceful enjoyment of such social plea- 
sures as were within her reach. The banishment of 
M. de Schlegel, M. de Montmorency, and Madame Re- 
camier, his refusal to allow Madame de Stael to pass 
into Italy, and his opposition to her visiting England, 
seem much more like personal dislike and irritation 
against one, whom he could not compel to flatter him, 
than they do like political precaution : he indeed over- 
rated Madame de Stael's importance, if he supposed she 
could change the whole policy of government, in a coun- 
try where the national prejudices are so strongly arrayed 
against female politicians, as they are in England. 

Whatever were Bonaparte's motives and intentions, 
her friends thought it prudent to urge immediate flight ; 
and she herself felt the necessity of it. But month after 
month passed away, during which time she was distracted 
with the most painful perplexity between her fears of a 
prison, and her dread of becoming a fugitive on the face 
of the earth. She says, ^ I sometimes consulted all sorts 



* Bonaparte once at a party placed himself directly before a 
witty and beautiful lady, and said very abruptly, * Madame, I don't 
like that women should meddle with politics.' — * You are very 
right, General,' she replied ; * but in a country where women are 
beheaded, it is natural they should desire to know the reason.' 
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MADAME DB STAEL. 55 

of presages, in hopes I should be directed what to do ; 
at other times, I more wisely interrogated my friends and 
myself on the propriety of my departure. I am sure, 
that I put the patience of my Mends to a severe test by 
my eternal discussions, and painful irresolution/ 

Two attempts were made to obtain passports for 
America ; but, after compelling her to wait a long time, 
the government refused to give them. 

At one time she thought of going to Greece, by the 
route of Constantinople ; but she feared to expose her 
daughter to the perils of such a voyage. Her next ob- 
ject was to reach England through the circuitous route 
of Russia and Sweden ; but in this great undertaking, 
her heart failed her. Having a bold imagination, and a 
timid character, she conjured up the phantoms of ten 
thousand dangers. She was afraid of robbers, of arrest, 
of prisons, — and more than all, she was afraid of being 
advertised, in the newspapers, with all the scandalous 
falsehoods her enemies might think proper to invent. 
She said truly that she had to contend with an * enemy 
with a million of soldiers, millions of revenue, all the pri-- 
sons of Europe, kings for his jailers, and the press for his 
mouth-piece.' But the time at last came when the pres- 
sure of crcumstances would no longer admit of deilay. 
Bonaparte was preparing for his Russian campaign, and 
she must either precede the French troops, or abandon 
her project entirely. 

The 15th of May, 1812, was at last fixed upon for de- 
parture ; and all the necessary arrangements were made 
with profound secrecy. When the day arrived, the un- 
certainty she felt seemed to her like a consciousness of 
being about to do something wrong ; she thought she 
ought to yield herself up to such events as Providence 
ordained, and that those pious men were in the right, who 
always scrupled to follow an impulse originating in their 
own free will. She says, < Agitated by these conflicting 
feelings, I wandered over the park at Coppet ; I seated 
myself in all the places where my father had been accus- 
tomed to repose himself and contemplate nature ; I look- 
ed once more upon the beauties of water and verdure. 

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66 BIOGRAPHY OP 

which we had so often admired together ; I bade them 
adieu, and recommended myself to their sweet influences. 
The monument that encloses the ^hes of my father and 
my mother, and in which, if Grod permits, my own will 
be deposited, was one of the principal causes of reg^ret I 
felt at banishing myself from the home of my childhood; 
but on approaching it, I almost always found strength, 
that seemed to me to come from Heaven. I passed an 
hour in prayer before the iron gate, which endosed the 
mortal remains of the noblest of human beings ; and my 
soul was convinced of the necessity of departure. I went 
once more to look at my father's study, where his easy- 
chair, his table, and his papers, remained as he had left 
them ; I kissed each venerated mark ; I took the cloak, 
which till then I had ordered to be left upon his chair, 
and carried it away with me, that I might wrap myself up 
in it, should the messenger of death approach me. When 
these adieus were terminated, I avoided as much as I 
could all other farewells ; I found it less painful to part 
from my friends by letters, which I took care they should 
not receive until several days after my departure. 

* On Saturday, the 23d of May, 1812, I got into mv 
carriage, saying that I should return to dinner. I took 
no packet whatever ; I and my daughter had only our 
fans. My son and M. de Rocca carried in their pockets 
enough to defray the expenses of several days' journey. 
On leaving the chateau, which had become to me like an 
old and valued friend, I nearly fainted : my son took my 
hand, and said, << Dear mother, remember you are on 
your way to England." Though nearly two thousand 
leagues from that goal, to which the usual road would 
have so speedily conducted me, I felt revived by his 
words; every step brought me something nearer to it. 
When I had proceeded a few leagues, I sent back one of 
my servants to apprize my establishment that I should 
not return until the next day. I continued travelling 
night and day as far as a f&rm-house beyond Berne, where 
I had agreed to meet M. de Schlegel, who had kindly of- 
fered to accompany me. Here I was obliged to leave 
my eldest son, who for fourteen years had been educated 
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MADAME DE STAEL. 57 

by my father, and whose features strongly reminded me 
of him. Again my courage abandoned me. I thought 
of Switzerland, so tranquil, and so beautiful ; I thought 
of her inhabitants, who, though they had lost political in- 
dependence, knew how to be free by their virtues ; and 
it seemed to me as if every thing told me I ought not to 
go. I had not yet crossed the barrier — ^there was still a 
possibility of returning. But if I went back, I knew an- 
other escape would be impossible ; and I felt a sort of 
shame at the idea of renewing such solemn farewells. I 
knew not what would have become of me, if this uncer- 
tainty had lasted much longer. My children decided me ; 
especially my daughter, who was then scarcely fourteen 
years old. I committed myself to her, as if the voice of 
God had spoken by the mouth of a child. My son took 
his leave ; and when he was out of sight, I could say, with 
Lord Russell, " The bitterness of death is past." ' 

The young Baron de Stael had been obliged to leave 
his mother, in order to attend to the interests of her for- 
tune, and to obtain passports to go through Austria, one 
of whose princesses was then the wife of Napoleon. Every 
thing depended on obtaining these passports, under some 
name that would not attract the attention of the police ; 
if they were refused, Madame de Stael would be arrested, 
and the rigours of exile made more intolerable than ever. 
It was a decisive step, and one that caused her devoted 
son the most painful anxiety. Finally, he concluded to 
act, as he judiciously ob«rves all honest men had better 
do in their intercourse with each other, — he threw him- 
self directly upon the generosity of the Austrian ambas- 
sador ; and fortunately he had to deal with an honourable 
man, who made no hesitation in granting his request. 

A few days after, Madame de Stael's younger son, 
with her servants, wardrobe, and travelling carriage, set 
out from Coppet, to meet his mother at Vienna. -The 
whole had been managed with such secrecy, and the po- 
lice had become so accustomed to her quiet way of life, 
that no suspicions were excited, until this second removal 
took place. The gens-d^cmmes were instantly on the 
alert ; but Madame de Stael had toe much the start of 

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58 BIOGRAPHY OF 

them, and had travelled too swiftly to be overtaken. In 
describing her flight, she says, ' The moment I most 
dreaded was the passage from Bavaria to Austria ; for it 
was there a courier might precede me, and forbid me to 
pass. But notwithstanding my apprehensions, my health 
had been so much injured by anxiety and fatigue, that I 
could no longer travel all night. I, however, flattered 
myself that I should arrive without impediment ; when, 
just as my fears were vanishing, as we approached the 
boundary line, a man in the inn, at Saltzburg, told M. 
de Schlegel that a French courier had been to inquire 
for a carriage coming from Inspruck, with a lady and a 
young girl ; and had left word that he would retufn to 
get intelligence of them. I became pale with terror ; 
and M. de Schlegel was very much alarmed ; especially 
as he found by inquiry that the courier had been waiting 
for me at the Austrian frontier, and not finding me there, 
had returned to meet me. This was just what I had 
dreaded before my departure, and through the whole jour- 
ney. I determined, on the spur of the moment, to 
leave M.de Schlegel and my daughter at the inn, and to 
go on foot into the streets of the town, to take my chance 
at the first house whose master, or mistress, had a physi- 
ognomy that pleased me. I would remain in this asylum 
a few days ; during this time, M. de Schlegel and my 
daughter might say that they were going to rejoin me in 
Austria; and I would afterward leave Saltzburg, dis- 
guised as a peasant. Hazardous m this resource appeared, 
no other remained ; and I was just preparing for the task, 
with fear and trembling, when who should enter my apart- 
ment but this dreaded courier, who was no other than — 
M. de Kocca! 

He had been obliged to return to Geneva to. transact 
some business, and now came to rejoin me. He had dis- 
guised himself as a courier, in order to take advantage of 
the terror which the name inspired, and to obtain horses 
more quickly. He had hurried on to the Austrian fron- 
tier, to make himself sure that no one had preceded, or 
announced me ; he had returned to assure me that I had 
nothing to fear, and to get upon the box of my carriage 
IQO 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 5{> 

until we had passed that dreaded frontier, which seemed 
to me the last of my dangers. In this manner were my 
fears changed to gratitude, joy, and confidence/ 

At Vienna, Madame de Stael was obliged to wait some 
time for a Russian passport. The first -ten days were 
spent very pleasantly, and her friends there assured her 
that she might rest in perfect security. At the end of 
that time, the Austrian police . probably received direc- 
tions concerning her from Napoleon ; for they placed a 
guard at the gate of her house, and, whether she walked 
or rode, she was followed by spies. 

She was at this time in a state of great uneasiness ; for 
unless her Russian passport came speedily, the progress 
of the war would prevent her from passing into that coun- 
try ; and she dared not stay in Vienna a day after the 
French ambassador, (who was then at Dresden) had re- 
turned. Again she thought of Constantinople. She tried 
to obtain two passports to leave Austria, either by Hun- 
gary or Gallicia, so that she might decide in favour of 
going to Petersburg or Constantinople according to cir- 
cumstances. She was told she might have her choice of 
passports, but that they could not enable her to go by two 
different frontiers without authority from the Committee 
of States. She says, * Europe seemed to her like one 
great net, in which travellers got entangled at every step/ 

She departed for Gallicia without her Russian pass- 
port ; a friend having promised to travel night and day 
to bring it to her, as soon as it arrived. At every step 
of her journey she encountered fresh difficulties from the 
police, all of which it would be tedious to relate. Placards 
were put up in all the towns to keep a strict watch upon 
her as she passed through : this was the distinction the 
Austrians conferred upon a woman, who has done more 
than*any other mortal to give foreigners a respect for 
German literature, and German character. 

In passing through Poland, Madame de Stael wished 
to rest a day or two at Lanzut, at the castle of the Po- 
lish Prince and Princess, Lubomirska, with whom she had 
been well acquainted in Geneva, and during her visit to 
Vienna. The captain of the police, jealous that she in- 

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60 BIOGBAPHY OF 

tended to excite tlie Poles to insurrection, sent a detach- 
ment to escort her into Lanzut, to follow her into the 
castle, and not leave her until she quitted it. Accordingly 
the officer stationed himself at the supper-tahle of the 
Prince, and in the evening took occasion to observe to 
her son that he had orders to pass the night in her apart- 
ment, to prevent her holding communication with any- 
one ; but that, out of respect to her, he should not do it. 
< You may as well say that you will not do it, out of re- 
spect to yourself,* repUed the young man : * for if you 
dare to set foot within my mother's apartment, I will as- 
suredly throw you out of the window.' 

The escort of the police was particularly painful to Ma- 
dame de Stael at this point of her journey. A descrip- 
tion of M. de Rocca had been sent along the road, with 
orders to arrest him as a French officer ; although he had 
resigned his commission, and was disabled by his wound 
from doing military service. Had he been arrested, the 
forfeiture of his life would have been the consequence. 
He had therefore been obliged to separate from his wife, 
at a time when he felt most anxious to protect her ; and 
to travel alone under a borrowed name. It had been ar- 
ranged that they should meet at Lanzut, from which place 
they hoped to be able to pass safely into Russia. Hav- 
ing arrived there before her, and not in the least suspect- 
ing that she would be guarded by the police, he eagerly 
came out to meet her, full of joy and confidence. The 
danger, to which he thus unconsciously exposed himself, 
made Madame de Stael pale with agony. She had scarce- 
ly time to give him an earnest signal to turn back. 
Had it not been for the generous presence of mind of a 
Polish gentleman, M. de Rocca would have been recog-p 
nised and arrested. 

The fugitive experienced the greatest friendship and 
hospitality from the Prince and Princess Lubomirska ; 
but notwithstanding their urgent entreaties, she would 
not consent to encumber their house with such attendants 
as chose to follow her. After one night's rest, she de- 
parted for Russia, which she entered on the 14th of July. 
As she passed the boundary-line, she made a solemn oath 
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MADAME DE STAEL. 6 1 # 

never again to set foot in a country subjected in any de- 
gree to the Emperor Napoleon ; though she says she ft»lt 
some sad misgivings that the oath would never allow her 
to revisit her own beautiful and beloved France. 

Madame de Stael staid but a brie^f space in Moscow ; 
the flames and the French army followed close upon her 
footsteps. 

At Petersburg she had several interviews with the 
Emperor Alexander, whose affairs wefre then at a most 
alarming crisis.* She remarks of Russia, * The country 
appeared to me like an image of infinite space, and as if 
it would require an eternity to traverse it. The Sclavon- 
ian language is singularly echoing; there is something 
metallic about it ; you would imagine you heard a bell 
striking, when the Russians pronounce certain letters of 
their alphabet.' 

The nobility of Petersburg vied with each other in the 
attentions bestowed on Madame de Stael. At a dinner 
given in honour of her arrival, the following toast was 
proposed : * Success to the arms of Russia against France.* 
The exile dearly Wed her country, and her heart could 
not respond to the sentiment : * Not against France !' she 
exclaimed ; * but against him who oppresses France.' The 
toast thus changed was repeated with great applause. 

Although Madame de Stael found much in Russia to 
interest her, and was everywhere received with distin- 
guished regard, she did not feel in perfect security ; she 
could not look on the magnificent edifices of that splen- 
did capital, without dismal forebodings, that ho, whose 
power had overshadowed all the fair dwellings of Europe, 
would come to darken them also. 

In September, she passed through Finland into Swe- 
den. In Stockholm she published a work against Suicide, 
written before her flight from Coppet. The object of 
this treatise is to show that the natural and proper effect 
of affliction is to elevate and purify the soul, instead of 

* In a conversation concerning the structure of governments Ma- 
dame de Stael said to the Emperor, * Sire, you are yourself a con- 
stitution for your country.* * Then, madam, I am but a lucky acci- 
dcntC was his wise reply to her delicate and comprehensive flattery. 

NO. XV. O , 193 

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62 BIOGRAPHY OF 

driving it to despair. Sbe is said to have been indneed 
to make this publication by the fear that she had, in some 
of her former writii^ evinced too much admiration for 
this guilty form of courage. 

In Sweden, as in Russia, Madame de Stael was receiv- 
ed with very marked respect. It was generally supposed 
that she exerted a powerful influence over Bemadotte, to 
induce him to resist the encroachments of Napoleon's am- 
bition. If this be the case, she may be said to have fairly 
che^k-mated the Emperor with a king of his own mak- 
ing. Though Bernadotte had great respect for her opi- 
nions, she is said not to have been a favourite with him : 
he was himself fond of making eloquent speeches, and her 
conversation threw him into the shade. 

Madame de Stael passed the winter of 1812 on the 
shores of the Baltic, and in the spring she sailed for Eng- 
land; where she arrived in June 1813. Although her 
dramatic style of manners, and the energy of her conver- 
sation, formed a striking contrast to the national reserve 
of the English, she was received with enthusiastic admi- 
ration. Her genius, her fame, her esc^e from Bonaparte, 
and her intimate knowledge of the French Revolution, 
all combined to produce a prodi^ous sensation. * In the 
immense crowds that collected to see her at the Marquis 
of Lansdowne's, and in the houses of the other principal 
nobility of London, the eagerness of curiosity broke 
through all restraint ; the first ladies in the kingdom stood 
on chairs and tables, to catch a glimpse of her dark and 
brilliant physiognomy.' 

Madame de Stael has left some admirable descriptions 
of English society, and of the impressions made upon her 
mind, when she first entered that powerful country. But 
the principal object of her visit was not to observe the 
intellectual wealth, or moral grandeur, of England. — 
Through all her perils and wanderings she had saved a 
copy of her condemned book on Germany, and had 
. brought it triumphantly to London, where it was publish- 
q ' J ^,^ ed in October, 1813. 

V^ ' * In this, which is perhaps her greatest work, Madame 
de Stael has endeavoured to give a bold, general, and phi- 
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MADAME DE STAEL. 63 

losophical view of the whole intellectual contJition of the 
German people, among whom she had made what was in 
some sort a voyage of dfecovery ; for the highly original' 
literature of that country was then little known to the 
rest of Europe.' It was received with great applause in 
England, and afterward in France, where a change of 
government admitted of its being published the ensuing 
year. Sir James Mackintosh immediately wrote a review 
of it, in which he says, * The voice of Europe had already 
applauded the genius of a national painter in the author 
of Corinna. — In her Germany, she throws off the aid of 
fiction; she delineates a less poetical character, and a 
country more interesting by anticipation than by recol- 
lection. But it is not the less certain that it is the most 
vigorous effort of her genius, and probably the most elabo- 
rate and masculine production of the faculties of woman.' 

Simond says, * The mam defect in. her mode of com- 
position, perhaps the only one, is an excessive ambition 
of eloquence. The mind finds no rest anywhere ; every 
sentence is replete with meaning, fully freighted with phi- 
losophy, and with wit, sometimes indeed over-laden ; no 
cai'eless expression ever escapes her ; no redundancy 
amid so much exuberance : if you had to make an ab- 
stract of what she wrote, although you might wish to ren- 
der it clearer and simpler, you would scarcely know what 
to strike off, or how to clothe the thoughts in more com- 
pendious language ; so harmonious and so strong is hers. 
Yet she could compose in company, and write while con- 
versing.' 

But the fault most commonly found with Madame de 
Stael's books, and which will probably alwaj'-s prevent 
their being very popular with general readers, is obscur- 
ity. We never for a moment suspect her of vagueness ; 
we know there is a meaning, when we cannot perceive it. 
As Lady Morgan says, ' There is in her compositions 
something of the Delphic priestess. They have the energy 
of inspiration, and the disorder. Sometimes mystic, not 
always intelligible, we still blame the god rather than the 
oracle^ and wish she were less inspired, or we more intel- 
ligent/ 

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64 BIOGRAPHY OF 

When Madame de Stael made her visit to England, 
Lord Byron was in the first lustre of his fame : he had 
not then sunk into that depth of moral degradation, which 
afterward made his genius the hot-breathing of a curse 
upon a world that worshipped him. At first, the rival 
lions seem to have been disposed to growl at each 
other. The following extracts from Byron's letters and 
journal give a vivid picture of the terms on which they 
stood : 

St, James's, July 8, 1813. 
* Rogers is out of town with Madame de Stael, who 
hath published an essay against suicide, which, I presume, 
will make somebody shoot himself.' 

Jfdif 13, 1813. 
' P. S. The Stael last night attacked me most furious- 
ly — said that I had no right to make love — ^that I had 
used ♦ * * barbarously — ^that I had no feeling, and was 
totally insensible to la belle passion, and had been all my 
life. I am very glad to hear it ; but I did not know it 
before.' 

While Madame de Stael was in England^ she was deep- 
ly afflicted by the news of the death of her youngest son- 
Byron alludes to this event in an off-hand style, and judges 
her by rules that apply remarkably well to his own cha- 
racter. 

August 22, 1813. 
' Madame de Stael Holstein has lost one of her young 
barons, who has been carbonadoed by a vile Teutonic ad- 
jutant — kilt and killed in a coffee-house at Scrawsenhaw- 
sen. Corinna is, of course, what all mothers must be, — 
but will, I venture to prophesy, do what few mothers 
could — write an essay upon it. She cannot exist without 
a grievance — and somebody to see or read how much 
grief becomes her. I have not seen her since the event; 
but merely judge (not very charitably) from prior obser- 
vation.' 

1 Q^ 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 65 

Nav. 16. 

* To-day received Lord Jersey's invitation to Middle- 
ton — ^to travel sixty miles to meet Madame * * * ! I 
once travelled three-thousand to get among silent people ; 
and this same lady writes octavos, and talks folios. I 
have read all her hooks — like most of them, and delight 
in the last ; so I won't hear as well as read.' 

Nov. 17. 

* At Lord Holland's I was trying to recollect a quota- 
tion (as I think) of Stael's from some Teutonic sophist 
about architecture. " Architecture reminds me of fro- 
zen music,* says this Macaronico Tedescho. It is some- 
where — ^but where ? The demon of perplexity must know, 

and won't tell. I asked M and he said it was not 

hers ; but P ^r said it must be JierSy it was so like^ 

Nov. 30. 

* Received a very pretty billet from M. la Barron ne 
de Stael Holstein. She is pleased to be much pleased 
with my mention of her last work in my notes.* I spoke 
as I thought — Her works are my delight, and so is she 
herself, for — ^half an hour. She is a woman by herself, 
and has done more than all the rest of them together, in- 
tellectually. — She ought to have been a man. ^hejUxt- 
ters me very prettily in her note ; but I know it. The 
reason that adulation is not displeasing is, that, though 
untrue, it shows one to be of consequence enough, in one 
way or other, to induce people to lie, to make us their 
friend : — that is their concern.* 

Dec. 5. 

* Asked for Wednesday to dine at Lord Holland's and 
meet the Stael : asked particularly, I believe, out of mis- 
chief to see the first interview after my answer to her 
note, with which Corinna professes herself to be so much 
taken. I don't much like it — she always talks of myselfy 

* Byron, in his notes to the Bride of Abydos, then just published, 
called her the first female writer of this, perhaps of any age. 

197 

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66 BIOGRAPHY OF 

or herself, and I am not, (except in soliloquy, as now) 
much enamoured of eitlier subject — eepecially one's works. 
What the shall I say about Germaay ! I like it pro- 
digiously. I read her again and again, and there can be 
no affectation in this ; but unless I can twist my admira- 
tion into some fantastical expression, she won't belieye 
me ; and I know by experience I shall be overwhelmed 
with fine things about rhyme, &c. &c. 

Dec. 7. 
* This morning received a very pretty billet from the 
Sta^l, about meeting her at Lord Holland's to-morrpw. 
I dare say she has written twenty such to different peo- 
ple, all equally flattering. So much the better for her, 
and for ,those who believe all she wishes them, or all they 
wish to believe. Her being pleased with my slight eulo- 
gy is to be accounted for in several ways. Firstly, all 
women like all or any praise ; secondly, this was unex- 
pected, because I have never courted her ; thirdly, those 
who have all their lives long been praised by regular cri- 
tics, like a little variety, and are glad when any one goes 
out of his way to say a civil thing ; and fourthly, she is a 
very good-natured creature, which is the best reason, after 
all, and perhaps the only one.' 

Dec. 10. 

< Dined at Lord Holland's on Wednesday. The Stael 
was at the other end of the table, and less loquacious than 
heretofore. We are now very good friends ; though she 
asked Lady Melbourne whether I really had any honhom- 
mie. She might as well have asked that question he- 
fore she told C. L. * Cest un demon^ True enough, but 
rather premature ; for she could not have found it out.' 

Dec. 12. 

< All the world are to be at the Stael's to-night, and I 
am not sorry to escape any part of it. I only go out to 
get me a fresh appetite for being alone.' 

TO MR. MURRAY. 

Jan. 12, 1814. 

< I do not love Madame de Stael, but depend upon it, 
198 

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MADAME DB STAEL. 67 

she beats all your natives hoBow as an authoress i and I 
wouid not say this if I could help it.' 

Jan, 16. 
^ Lewis has been squabbling with Madame de Stael 
about Oarissa Harlowe, Mackintosh, and me. My ho- 
mage has never been paid in that quarter, or we should 
have agreed still worse. I don't talk — I can't flatter — 
and I won't listen. Poor Corihne, she will find some of 
her fine speeches will not suit our fine ladies and gentle- 
men.' 

Feb. 18, 1814. 

* More notes from Madame de * * unanswered^-and 
so they shall remain. I admire her abilities, but really 
her society is overwhelming — an avalanche that buries 
one in glittering nonsense — all snow and sophistry.' 

Mctrch 6. 
' Dined with Rogers. Madame de Stael, Mackintosh, 
Sheridan, Erskine, &c. there. Sheridan told a very good 
story of himself and Madame Recamier's handerchief. 
She says she is going to write a big book about England 
— I believe her. We got up from taWe too soon after 
the women ; and Mrs. Corinne always lingers so long after 
dinner, that we wish her in — ^the drawing-room.' 

June 19, 1814. 

* The Stael out-talked Whitbread, was ironed hy She- 
ridan, confounded Sir Humphry, and utterly perplexed 
your slave. The rest (great names in the red book, 
nevertheless) were mere segments of the circle. Made- 
moiselle * danced a Russ saraband with great vigour, 

grace, and expression.' 

The respect and admiration with which Madame de Stael 
was received by the best society in England was rather in- 
creased than diminished during her residence there. She 

* Probably Mademoiselle de Stael, afterward Dachess de Broglie. 

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68 BIOGRAPHY OF 

had now been in most of the capitals of Europe, and in 
all of them had received a degree of homage never before 
paid to any woman who was not a queen. But all these 
flattering distinctions could not wean her aflfections from 
her beloved Paris. In the midst of the most dazzKng tri- 
umphs of her genius, her heart turned fondly toward 
France, and she was watching with intense anxiety the 
progress of those great political movements, which after- 
ward restored her to her country. Immediately after the 
entrance of the allied army into Paris, and the conse- 
quent abdication of Bonaparte, Madame de Stael returned 
to her native land. Notwithstanding the pain it gave her 
to see her country filled with foreign troops, she felt the 
joy of an exile restored to her home. She immediately 
resumed her high place in society ; and the accumulation 
of fame she brought with her threw additional brilliancy 
around a name, which had so long been illustrious. Louis 
XVIII. took great delight in her conversation. He caused 
to be paid from the royal treasury the two millions of 
francs, that M. Necker had loaned to Louis XVI. 

A circumstance which occurred at this period of her 
life is remarkably interesting. A project was on foot to 
assassinate Napoleon ; and men were s^fit to Elba for 
that purpose. Madame de Stael, from her well-known 
dislike to the Emperor, and her acquaintance with politi- 
cal men of all parties, was the first one to whom the se- 
cret was confided. Accompanied by Talma, she imme- 
diately sought an interview with Joseph Bonaparte, in- 
formed him of his brother*s danger, and even proposed to 
go to Elba in person. A patriotic friend, whose name is 
not yet revealed to the public, undertook the hazardous 
mission — he arrived in time, so that the two first who 
landed were arrested, and Bonaparte was saved. 

Madame de Stael passed the winters of 1814 and 1815 
in Paris, receiving the universal homage of the great men, 
then collected there from all parts of the world. But the 
shadow of her old and inveterate enemy was suddenly 
thrown across this bright spot in her existence. On the 
6th of March, 1815, Bonaparte suddenly landed in France, 
When Madame de Stael heard the tidings, she says, it 
20X) r- T 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 69 

seemed as if the earth had yawned under her feet. She 
had sufficient knowledge of the French people to conjec- 
ture what reception Napoleon would meet ; and having 
made a farewell visit to the king, with a heavy heart she 
returned to Coppet. 

Bonaparte, anxious to rebuild the power his own mad- 
ness had overthrown, was particularly desirous to gain the 
confidence of the friends of rational liberty ; and among 
these his former persecution had shown of what conse- 
quence he considered Madame de Stael. He sent his 
brother Joseph with a request that she would come to 
Paris and give him her advice about framing a constitu- 
tional government. With a consistency very rare in 
those days of rapid political changes, she replied, * Tell 
the Emperor that for twelve years he has done without 
me or a constitution ; and I believe that he has as little 
regard for the one as he has for the other.' 

Bonaparte gave O'Meara a very diflferent account. He 
says, * I was obliged to banish Madame de Stael from 
court.* At Geneva she became very intimate with my 
brother Joseph, whom she gained by her conversation and 
writings. When I returned from Elba she sent her son 
to ask payment of two millions, which her father had lent 
out of his private property to Louis XVI. and to offer her 
services, provided I complied with her request. I refused 
to see him ; thinking I could not grant what he wished 
without ill- treating others in a similar predicament. How- 
ever, Joseph would not be refused, and brought him in ; 
the attendants not liking to deny my brother. I received 
him politely, and told him I was very sorry I could not 
comply with his request, as it was contrary to the laws. 
Madagie de Stael then wrote a long letter to Fouche 
stating her claims, in which she said she wanted the money 
to portion her daughter in marriage to the Due de Broglie, 
promising that if I complied with her request, I might 
command her and hers; that she would he black and 
white for me. Fouche urged me to comply, saying that 

• A gentle and comprehensive description of his system of petty 
persecutions ! 



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#1 



70 BIOGRAPHY OF 

at SO critical a time she might be of considerable service. 
I answered that I would make no bargains.' 

It is impossible that the above statement i^ould be 
true. In tne first place, we have more reason to pkice 
confidence in the veracity of the open-hearted Madame 
de Stael, than we have in the word of Napoleon, who 
seldom used language for any other purpose than to con- 
ceal his thoughts; secondly, in the beginning of his reign 
he did offer to pay those very two millions, if she would 
favour his government, and at the very time of which 
O'Meara speaks, he again offered to do it ; thirdly, it is 
notorious tnat after his return from Elba he was extreme- 
ly anxious to conciliate his enemies ; and lastly, the his- 
tory of his whole intriguing life makes us laugh at the 
pretence that he was incapable of making bargains. 

At the close of the memorable Hundred Days, Bon- 
aparte was a second time compelled to abdicate ; and 
Madame de Stael would have immediately returned to 
Paris, had she not felt such a painful sense of degradation 
in seeing the throne of France supported by a standing 
army of foreign troops ; her national pride could not brook 
the disgrace of witnessing her country in the leading- 
strings of the Allied Powers ; France thus situated, was 
in her eyes no longer * the great nation.' 

She remained at Coppet during the summer of 1815 ; 
but having fresh cause of alarm for the health of her hus- 
band, who had never recovered* from the effects of his 
wound, she revisited Italy, where they passed the winter. 
In the spring of 1816 they returned to Coppet. 

Lord Byron, who had then left England, in high indig- 
nation at the odium he had brought upon himself, passed 
through Switzerland, during this year, in his way t» Italy. 
Notwithstanding his former want of cordiality toward 
Madame de Stael, and his personal unpopularity at this 
period, he was received by her with a kindness and hos- 
pitality he had not hoped to meet, and which affected 
nim deeply. With her usual frankness, she blamed him 
for his conduct to Lady Byron ; and by her persuasive 
eloquence prevailed upon him to write to a friend in Eng- 
land expressing a wish to be reconciled to his wife. In 

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MADAME DB STAEL. 71 

the letters he wrote^ during the few sammer months he 
staid in Switzerland, he often speaks of Coppet and its 
inhabitants. He says, ' Madame de Stael wislies to see 
the Antiquary, and 1 am going to take it to her to-morrow. 
She has made Coppei as agreeable tp me as society and 
talent can make any place on earth. Bonstetten is there 
a good deal. He is a fine, lively old man, and much es- 
teemed by bis compatriots. All there are well, except- 
ing Rooca, who, I am sorry to say, looks in a very bad 
state of health. Schlegel is in high force, and Madame 
de Stael is as brilliant as ever.' Of the Duchess de Broglie, 
Byron spoke in very high terms ; and in noticing her 
attachment to her husband* he remarked, that < nothing 
was more. pleasing than lo see the development of the 
domestic affections in a very young woman.' What a 
pity that virtue was not to him something more than a 
mere abstract idea of poetic beauty ! 

When it became evident that the Allied Powers did 
not mean to dictate the measures of the French govern- 
ment, Madame de Stael was again strongly tempted by 
the allurements of Paris. She returned once more, to 
become the leading-star in the most brilliant society in 
the world. * Every evening her saloon was crowded with 
all that was distinguished and powerful, not in France only, 
but in all Europe, which was then represented in Paris 
by a remarkable number of its most extraordinary men. 
Madame de Stael had, to a degree perhaps never possess- 
ed by any other person, the rare talent of uniting around 
her the most distinguished individuals of all the opposite 
parties, literary and political, and making them estabhsh 
relations among themselves, which they could not after- 
ward entirely^ shake off. There might be found Welling- 
ton and Lafayette, Chateaubriand, Talleyrand, and Prince 
Laval ; Humboldt and Blucher from Berlin ; Constant 
and Sismondi from Switzerland ; the two Schlegels from 
Hanover ; Canova from Italy ; the beautiful Madame 
Recamier, and the admirable Duchess de Duras ; and 
from England, such a multitude, that it seemed tike a 
general emigration of British talent and rank.' 

It was in conversation with men like these, that Ma- 

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72 BIOGRAPHY OP 

darae de Stael shone in the fulness of her splendour. 
Much as we may admire her writings, in which she has 
so gracefully blended masculine vigour with female viva- 
city and enthusiasm, we cannot realize the vividness of 
her fame, like those who saw her genius flashing and spark- 
ling in quick collision with kindred minds. la powers of 
conversation she was probably gifted beyond any other 
human being. Madame Tesse declared, ' if she were a 
queen, she would order Madame de Stael to talk to her 
always.' — Simond says, * That ambition of eloquence, so 
conspicuous in her writings, was much less observable in 
her conversation ; there was more abandon in what she 
said, than in what she wrote ; while speaking, the spontane- 
ous inspiration was no labour, but all pleasure ; conscious of 
extraordinary powers, she gave herself up to the present en- 
joyment of the good things and the deep things, flowing in a 
full stream from her own well-stored and luxuriant fancy. 
The inspiration was pleasure — ^the pleasure was inspiration ; 
and without precisely intending it, she was every evening 
of her life, in a circle of company, the very Corinne she 
had depicted. It must not, however, be supposed that, 
engrossed by her own self-gratification, Madame de Stael 
was inattentive to the feelings of others ; she listened 
very willingly, enjoyed, and applauded; she did more, 
often provoking a reply, and endeavouring to place her 
hearers in a situation to have their turn. " What do you 
think ?" she would say with eager good-nature, in the 
very middle of her triumph, that you also might have 
yours. Upon the whole, Madame de StaeFs bonhommie 
was still more striking than her talents.' Madame de 
Saussure tells us that ' no one could understand the full 
measure of her power, except those who knew her in the 
intimacy of friendship. Her most beautiful writings, her 
most eloquent remarks in society, were far from equalling 
the fascination of her conversation, when she threw oflF 
the constraint of conforming to various characters, and 
talked unreservedly to one she. loved. She then gave 
herself up to an inspiration, which seemed to exercise as 
supernatural an effect upon herself, as it did upon others. 
Whether the power was exerted for good or evil, it seem- 
204 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 73. 

ed to come from a source over which she had' no control. 
Sometimes, in the bitterness of her spirit, she at one breath 
withered all the flowers of Hfe, and probing the heart with 
red-hot iron, destroyed all the illusions of sentiment, all 
the charm of the dearest relations. Presently, she would 
yield to the control of gaiety, singularly original in its 
character : it had all the graceful candour and winning 
credulity of a little child, who is a dupe to every thing. 
Then she should abandon herself to a sublime melancho- 
ly, a religious fervour, acknowledging the utter emptiness 
of all this world can bestow.' 

The winter months at the close of 1816, and the be- 
ginning of 1817, were passed by Madame de Stael in 
Paris. This was the most splendid scene in the gorgeous 
drama of her life — and it was the last. * The great ex- 
ertions she made, evening after evening, in the important 
political discussions that were carried on in her saloon, — 
the labours of the morning in writing almost continually 
something suited to the wants of the moment, for the 
Mercury, and other periodicals, — while, at the same time, 
the serious labour of her great work on the French Re- 
volution was still pressing on her, — all these together were 
too much for her strength.' Contrary to the advice of 
the physicians, she persisted in using ojftum, to which she 
had for some time resorted to stimulate her exhausted 
frame ; but nature was worn out, and no artificial means 
could restore its vigour. A violent fever, obviously the 
effect of the excitement under which she had so long Uv- 
ed, seized her in February. By the use of excessively 
violent means, it was thrown off ; but though the disease 
was gone, her constitution was broken up. Life passed 
at first insensibly from the extremities, and then no less 
slowly retired from the more vital organs. In general, 
she suffered little, and her faculties remained in uncloud- 
ed brightness to the last. The interest excited* by her 
situation proved the affection she had inspired, and of 
what consequence her life was accounted lo her country. 
Every day some of the royal family were anxiously in- 
quiring at the door, and every day the Duke of Wel- 
lington came in person to ask if there was no hope. Her 

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74 BIOGRAPHY OV 

most intiniate friends (who have been often mentioned in 
the course, of this memoir) were admitted into her sick 
chamber. She conversed upon all the subjects that were 
introduced, and took an interest in them all. If her con- 
versation at this period had less than her usual animation, 
it is said to have had more of richness and depth. The 
deadly paleness of her features formed a touching con- 
trast with the dazzling intelligence, which never deserted 
her expressive countenance. Her friends placed a double 
value on every remark she uttered, and treasured it in 
their inmost hearts as one of the last efforts of her won- 
derful mind. Some of them indulged the hope that she 
might recover ; but she knew from the first that the 
work of death was begun. At one time, owing to a high 
nervous excitement, produced by the progress of her dis- 
ease, the thought of dissolution was terrible to her. — 
She mourned over the talents that had made her life so 
brilliant ; over the rank and influence, that she could so 
usefully exercise ; over her children, whose success in the 
world was just then beginning to gratify all her affection 
and pride ; until those who listened to her trembled at 
the heart-rending energy, which her excited imagination 
gave to her expressions. But this passed away with the 
disease that produced it ; and calmer feelings followed. 
She spoke of her death with composure and resignation 
to all except her daughter. " My father is waiting for 
me in the other world," said she, " and I shall soon go to 
him." By a great effort she wrote, with her palsied hand, 
a few affectionate words of farewell to her most intimate 
friends. Two days before her death, she read Lord By- 
ron's Manfred, then just published ; and expressed as clear 
and distinct an opinion on its poetry as she would have 
done at any moment of her life. The morning before 
she died, she pointed to these two beautiful passages, and 
said they expressed all she then felt : 

" Lo ! the clankless chain hath bound thee ; 

O'er thy heart and brain together, 

Hath the word been passed — now wither ! 



206 



*' Oh, that I were 
The viewless spirit of a lovely sound. 



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MADAME DE 9TAEL. 75 

A livingf Toice, a breathing harmony, 
A bodiless enjoyment — ^bom and dying, 
With the blest tone, which made me 1" 

' Late that night, as her daughter was kneeling by her 
bedside, she tried to speak to her of her approaching dis- 
solution ; but the last agony of a mother's heart came 
over her, and she could not : she asked her to go into 
the next room, and then she became calm again. Miss 
Randall, her long-known and affectionate friend, whom 
she had always wished to have with her at the last mo- 
ment, remained alone with her until morning. Once, a» 
she revived from a temporary state of insensibility, she 
said, ^^ I beUeve I can realize what it is to pass from life 
to death : our ideas are confused, and we do not suffer 
intensely. I sun sure the goodness of God will render 
the transition easy." Her hopes were not disappointed. 
At about two o'clock she fell asleep ; and so tranquil was 
this last slumber, that it was only when at four o'clock 
she ceased to breathe, without any movement, or change 
of feature, that it became too certain she would wake no 
more. She died on Monday, July 14th, 1817> at the 
age of fifty-one.' Her remains were carried to Coppet, 
and placed, as she had desired, by the side of her father. 

During her Hfe-time, she had caused a beautiful bas- 
relief to be placed upon his monument. It represented 
a light celestial form, extending her hand to another fi- 
gure, who looks back with compassion upon a young fe- 
male, veiled and prostrate before a tomb. Under these 
emblems are represented Madame Necker, her husband^ 
and their daughter ; the two first passing from this world 
to immortal life. 

M. de Rocca, whose fragile health had so often made 
Bladame de Stael tremble for a life on which she leaned 
all her hopes, while her own existence was in the fulness 
of its vigour, was destined to survive her ; but grief soon 
finished the work which illness had begun. He went to 
linger out his few brief days under the beautiful sky of 
Provence, where a brother received his last sigh. He 
expired in the night of the 29th or 30th of Januaiy, 
1818, in his thirty-first year. Their only child was con* 

207 

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76 BIOGRAPHY OF 

fided to the affectionate care of the Duchess de Broglie. 
Simond, in his tour through Switzerland, visited Cop- 
pet, soon after the death of Madame de Stael. He pays 
the following tribute to her memory : * Death has dis- 
armed her numerous pohtical enemies ; and the tongue 
of slander is silent. Her warm, generous, forgiving tem- 
per, her romantic enthusiasm, her unrivalled powers of 
conversation, her genius, are alone remembered. The 
place of this extraordinary woman is marked among the 
most eloquent writers of any age ; among the best deli- 
neators of human feelings and passions ; among the truest 
historians of the heart. She might not possess much po- 
sitive knowledge ; sometimes she spoke of things she did 
not thoroughly understand ; her imagination often took 
the lead of her judgment ; but her errors were invariably 
on the generous side, and still bespoke greatness of mind 
and elevated sentiment/ 

When Madame de Stael made a final arrangement of 
her affairs, a short time before her decease, she requested 
her children to declare her second marriage, and to pub- 
lish her great work on the French Revolution, although 
she had not been able to complete it. The idea of 
finishing this book had been a favourite project, of which 
she had never lost sight from the time of her father's 
death, until the near approach of her own. Her first 
effort is to vindicate M. Necker's memory from the as- 
persions cast upon it by his enemies ; and to prove that 
his political conduct was ever influenced by the purest, 
most patriotic, and most consistent motives. She had 
remarkable opportunities for obtaining full and accurate 
information concerning the startling scenes of the French 
Revolution, and the causes which produced them ; and 
in describing them, she has singularly combined the ani- 
mated and fervid eloquence of an eye-witness, with the 
calmness and candour of an historian. The impartiality 
with which she speaks of Bonaparte, after all she had suf- 
fered from him, shows that she possessed true greatness 
of soul. Indeed, a forgiving temper was one of Madame 
de StaeVs prevailing characteristics. No injuries could 
excite her to revenge ; she resented for a moment, but 
208 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 77 

she never hated. She was so fearful of being ungene- 
rous, that she was less likely to speak ill of her enemies, 
for the very reason that they were her enemies. There 
was but one oflFence, which she never pardoned ; and 
that was a disrespectful word of her father. In such 
cases, she never resorted to retaliation : but she main- 
tained toward the individual a perpetual coldness and 
reserve. 

The envious and frivolous Madame de Genlis, who, to 
considerable talent united an excessive vanity, was always 
attacking her distinguished rival with bitter criticisms and 
sarcastic remarks ; but Madame de Stael was never pro- 
voked to retort by an unkind word ; she praised her 
when she could, and when she could not, she was silent. 
When Madame de Genlis, at last, spoke unfavourably of 
Madame Necker, she exclaimed, ' Does she suppose, be- 
cause I do not return her attacks upon myself, that I will 
not defend my mother ! Madame de Genlis may say 
what she will of my writings ; and for myself, she may 
either love, or fear me. But I will defend my dead 
mother, who has nobody else in the world to take her 
part. True, she loved my father better than she did me 
— and by that I know that I have all her blood in my 
veins ; as long as that blood circulates, she shall not be 
attacked with impunity!' Her friends represented to 
her that, as she was then exiled and persecuted, attacks 
on those she loved would only be multiplied by taking 
notice of them ; and her indignation subsided, as rapidly 
as it had arisen. 

The fragments of the journal she kept after she left 
France have been published by her son and the Due de 
Broglie, under the title of the Ten Years* Exile of Ma- 
dame de Stael. It is astonishing that she was able to 
observe so much of the countries through which she pass- 
ed with rapidity and fear, on her way to England. 

Madame de Stael wrote the articles Aspasia, Camoens, 
and Cleopatra, for La Biographic Universelle. Her 
works were all collected and published in one edition by 
her children ; accompanied by a notice of her life and 
writings, by Madame Necker de Saussure. 

NO. XV. P Digitized by \^UU^Q9 



78 BIOGRAPHY OF 

Such was the life of Madame de Stael — ^which, throagfa 
its whple course, more resembled a long continued and 
brilliant triumph than the ordinary lot of mortals. Yet 
none of us would wish such a destiny for a sister, or a 
child. She herself had suffered so keenly from the envy 
and evil feelings which always darken the bright path of 
genius, that she exhorted her daughter not to follow in 
her footsteps. She talked freely to her children of the 
dangers into which she had been led by her active ima- 
gination and ardent feelings : she often quoted her motto 
to Delphine, * A man ought to know how to brave the 
opinion of the world ; a woman should submit to it.* 

Madame de Stael, with all her errors, deserves our 
highest respect and admiration. Her defects, whether 
as an author or a woman, always sprung from the excess 
of something good. Every thing in her character tended 
to extremes. She had an expansive freedom, a mighty 
energy of soul, which never found room enough in this 
small world of ours. Her spirit was impatient within the 
narrow bounds of time and space, and was for ever aspir- 
ing to something above the destiny of mortals. 

If we are disposed to blame her eagerness for all kinds 
of distinction, we must remember that her ambitious pa- 
rents educated her for display, and that she was endowed 
with talents, which made every effort a victory. If there 
is much to forgive, there is more to admire ; and few. 
will censure her, if none speak harshly but those who 
have had equal temptations. The most partial cannot 
deny that she had many faults ; but they are so conse- 
crated by unrivalled genius, by kindness, disinterested- 
ness, and candour, that we are willing to let the veil of 
oblivion rest upon them for ever, and to remember only 
that no woman was ever gifted with a clearer head, or a 
better heart. 



NOTE. 

LIST OF WORKS REFERRED TO. 



MS. Lectures on French Literature, by Professor Ticknor. 
Notice sur le Caractere et les Ecrits de Madame de Stael, par 
Madame Necker de Saussure. 

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MADAME DE STAEL. 79 

La Biographie Uniyerselle. 

Simond's Tour in Switzerland. 

Sir Jojin Sinclair's Correspondence. 

Memoirs and Correspondence of Baron de Grimm. 

T«n Years' Exile of Madame de Stael. 

Considerations on the French Revolution, by Madame de StaeL 

Moore's Life of Byron. 

Lavalette's Memoirs. 

Sir Walter Scott's Life of Napoleon. 

O'Meara's Voice from St. Helena. 

Edinburgh Review. 

Monthly Anthology. 

Encyclopaedia Americana. 



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0/ 



A' 



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\.'^^%.y\o ,^ 



BIOGRAPHY 



L^DY RUSSELL. 



MRS. CHILR, ^ ^ 

ATTnOR OF * I!OROMOK,' * THE MOTHEr's tMXjTK.* &C. 



tHER S tKXirK. i 



EDINBURGH: 

THOMAS CLARK, 38, GEORGE STREET. 
MDCCCXXXVI. 

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JAMES BVRMST, miKTER, 23, lAST THISTLC STKEET. 

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BIOGRAPHY 



LADY RUSSELL. 



" Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them 
ail."— Pror. \xxi. 29. 



Lady Rachel Wriothesley was the second daughter 
of Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, by his 
first wife, Rachel de Ruvigny, of an ancient Hugonot 
family in France. She was born in 1636 ; her mother 
died in her infancy, and her father afterward married 
Elizabeth, daughtet of Sir Francis Leigh, created Earl 
of Chichester. Lord Clarendon informs us that the 
Earl of Southampton was " a very great man in all re- 
spects, and brought much reputation to the cause of 
Charles L He owed no obligations to the court. On 
the contrary, he had undergone some hardships from it ; 
and as he kept aloof from all intercourse with it, he was 
considered one of the peers most attached to the cause 
of the. people, and was much courted by the popular 
party. He had a great dislike of the high courses which 
had been taken by the government, and a particular pre- 
judice to the Earl of Strafford for some exorbitant pro- 
ceedings. But when he saw the popular tide setting 
so violently against the government, perverting, as he 
thought, even the course of justice. Lord Southampton 
reluctantly allowed himself to be attached to the court- 
party. He was first made privy-counsellor, and soon 
after gentleman of the bed-chamber to the King. He 
had previously refused to sign the protestation of both 
houses of Parliament ; and as they had voted that no man 

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4 BIOGRAPHY OF 

who refused his signature should be capable of any pre- 
ferment in Church or State, he was believed to have ac- 
cepted these offices merely to show how little he regarded 
the advisers of such measures. He went with the King 
to York and to Nottingham, was with him at Edge-hill, 
and came and staid with him at Oxford to the end of the 
war — taking all opportunities to advance all motions to- 
wards peace. Although a person naturally loving his ease, 
and allowing himself never less than ten hours' repose, yet 
during the conferences at Uxbridge, which lasted twenty 
days, he was never more than four hours In bed," — so 
earnest was he to effect a union between king and par- 
liament, as the only means of restoring tranquillity to 
his distracted country. 

" Violence on one side, and obstinacy on the other, 
rendered his efforts of no avail ; yet still the Earl of 
Southampton faithfully attended the daily diminishing 
court of the misguided Charles. After the King left 
Hampton Court, he remained some time at Tichfield, in 
the Earl of Southampton's house, and under the protec- 
tion of his mother, the old Countess of Southampton.'' 
When Charles became a prisoner, in the power of his own 
provoked subjects, the Earl made every possible attempt to 
save him. He was one of the fo\ir faithful adherents who 
offered their own lives for the safety of the monarch, on 
the plea that they had been his counsellors, and therefore 
were alone worthy of punishment ; and when at last the 
King's life was sacrificed to the liberty of the nation, he 
was one of those who asked and obtained permission to 
pay the last sad duty to his remains. After the execu- 
tion of Charles I. he retired to his seat at Tichfield, and 
lived in great seclusion until the restoration of Charles II. 
All Cromwell's advances to friendship were promptly re- 
jected ; and " when the Protector was near his house, 
upon the occasion of Richard Cromwell's marriage, and 
had intent to visit him, the Earl, upon private notice 
thereof, immediately hastened to remove to another house 
at a greater distance." 

Burnet telb us that he made large remittances to 
Charles II. during his exile. He styles him '< A fast 

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LADY RUSSELL. 5 

friend to the public— 4he wise and virtuous Southampton, 
who desetved everything the King could give him." 
Such were the obligations which the Stuarts owed to the 
family of Southampton ! But princes are apt to think the 
honour of serving them a sufficient recompense for all sa- 
crifices ; and none so shamefully forgot claims upon their 
gratitude as the profligate and selfish sons of Charles I. 
The tyranny and extravagance of Charles II. could 
act, of course, be pleasing to the firm, but conscientious 
friend of his unfortunate father. Oldmixon says, " That 
right noble and virtuous peer, the Earl of Southampton, 
whose loyalty was not more exemplary than his love to 
his country, said to Chancellor Hyde, * It is to tfou we 
owe all we either feel or fear ; for if you had not pos- 
sessed us in all your letters with such an opinion of 
Charles II., we would have taken care to have put it out 
of his power either to do himself or us any mischief, 
which is likely to result from our trusting him so en- 
tirely.' " 

At the Restoration, the Earl of Southampton was made 
Lord High Treasurer — an office which he is said to have 
filled with great integrity and address. He died in 1667* 
The thoughtless and unfeeling King had been for some 
time desirous to snatch the treasurer's staff from his dying 
hand ; for he was angry at one who uniformly refused to 
pay court to his unprincipled mistress the Duchess of 
Cleveland, and he felt ashamed to let such a^ man, know 
the secrets of his political corruption. 

** Of Lord Southampton's second marriage, one only, 
out of four daughters, survived him. She was first mar- 
ried to Joceline Percy, the last Earl of Northumberland, 
aud afterward to the Duke of Montague. As this daughter 
inherited her mother's estates, the whole of Lord South- , 
ampton's princely fortune was divided between the two 
surviving children of his first marriage, Elizabeth and 
Rachel. The Lady Elizabeth married Edward Noel, 
son of Viscount Campden, afterward created Earl of 
Gainsborough. The Lady Rachel was first married to 
Francis Lord Vaughan, eldest son of the Earl of Car- 
berry ; and afterward to Lord William Bussell, son of 

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b BIOGRAPHY OF 

the Earl of Bedford." Her first marriage took place in 
1653, when she was about seventeen years of age. Ac- 
cording to the fashion of the day, this match was ar- 
ranged by the parents ; and perhaps Lady Russell's re- 
mark concerning such early unions was founded on her 
own experience : She says, " It is acceptance, rather than 
choosing, on either side." 

We have no means of knowing how far Lady Vaughan's 
affections were concerned, but she was certainly a most 
exemplary wife ; and by her blameless conduct, ami^le 
temper, and cheerful disposition, gained the lasting attach- 
ment of all her husband's family. There is extant the 
copy of a letter written to her in 1655, when she was re- 
siding with Lord Vaughan, at his father's house in 
Wales, * which shows in what estimation she was held, 
even at that early period of her life : — 

" Dear Madam, — There is not in the world so great 
a charm as goodness ; and your Ladyship is the greatest 
argument to prove it. All that know you are thereby- 
forced to honour you, — neither are you to thank them, 
because they cannot do otherwise. Madam, I am among 
that number, gladly and heartily I declare it ; and I shall 
die in that number, because my observance of your 
virtue is inseparably annexed to it. I beseech you, 
Madam, to pardon this scribbling, and present your noble 
husband with my most affectionate service ; and I shall 
in my prayers present you both to God, begging of him 
daily to increase your piety to Him, and your love to 
each other." 

Little is known of Lord Vaughan's character and 
habits. The following letter to his lady, from the same 
correspondent, evidently written in raillery, implies that 
he was of a dilatory disposition : — " I beseech you not 
hereafter to hinder my Lord Vaughan from writing to 

* Golden Grove, in Carmarthenshire. At a fire which happened 
there in 1729, many family papers were destroyed, among which 
we have probably to regret the means of becoming acquainted with 
many details of Lady Russell's early life. 
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LADY RUSSELL. 7 

me ; — I am confident, whatever excuse you make for 
him, he had a most eager desire to write this week. I 
know his Lordship so well, that he cannot delay to make 
returns of civility. If it had been his custom to defer 
and put off to the last hour, I might believe your Lady- 
ship ; bift in this particular I must beg your Ladyship's 
pardon. I was at Abscourt the last week, and found 
Mr. Estcourt courting your aunt. She received his ad- 
dresses with great satisfaction and content. I think, 
Madam, under favour, you were not so kind to my Lord 
Vaughan." 

In the year 1665 she became a mother; but her babe 
lived only to be baptized, and she had no other children 
by Lord Vauglian. In the autumn of that year, while 
the plague was raging in London, she again resided with 
the Earl of Carberry's family in Wales. A letter from 
her half-sister, Lady Percy, at this period, after express- 
ing how much her company was desired by herself and 
the whole family, says, " I am glad for nobody's sake, but 
Lady Frances Vaughan's, that you are there [in Wcdesi ; 
for I am sure she is sensible of her happiness in enjoving 
you." 

In 1667 Lady Vaughan was a widow, living with her 
beloved and only sister, Lady Elizabeth Noel, at Tich- 
field in Hampshire, which estate Lady Elizabeth, as the 
eldest daughter of Lord Southampton, inherited. His 
property at Stratton fell to the lot of Lady Vaughan. 

It is not known precisely when her acquaintance with 
Mr. Russell commenced. A letter from Lady Percy to 
Lady Vaughan, in 1667> leaves no doubt that he had 
then manifested an attachment for her half-sister. She 
says, " For his concern I can say nothing more, than 
that he professes a great desire, which I do not at all 
doubt he and everybody else has, to gain one who is so 
desirable in all respects." 

Mr. Russell was then only a younger brother, and 
Lady Vaughan was an heiress, without children by her 
first marriage. In a worldly point of view, the advan- 
tages of such a connection were almost entirely on his 
side ; and this idea, accompanied by the diffidence which 

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8 BI061tAl>HY OF 

ch'iiract^Hzes ^entihie loVe, ttnide \!i\m slow to interpret 
the lAtJy's sentihients in his fevour. But Lady Vaughan 
was he)c own mistteftg i knd Matters of intierest cOtild hot 
long keep two such hearts as theirs strangers to each 
other. They were nialtled about the end of Jhe year 
1669. She signed herself Lady Vaughan, till Mr. 
Russell, by the death of his elder brother, succeeded to 
a title, when she assumed that Of Lady Russell. 

The birth of her eldest daughter $n 1674, was fol- 
lowed by that of another daughter in 1676 ; and her do- 
mestic happiness seems to have been completed by the 
birth of a son, in November 1680. 

In 1679 she experienced a severe affliction in the loss 
of her beloved sister, Lady Elizabeth Noel. Devoted 
as Lady Russell was to her husband and children, her 
warm heart was not exclusive, even in these purest and 
happiest of human affections ; and in her letters, many 
years after, we find her recurring to the memory of this 
sister with peculiar fondness. 

" Her letters to her husband, from 1672 to a twelve- 
month before his death, are written at distant intervals. 
During the fourteen happy years of their union they were 
little apart. Their only moments of separation seem to 
have b^en some visits of duty to his father, when living 
entirely at Woburn Abbey, — or during his elections for 
two successive Parliaments, — soUie short absences in 
London on private or political business, — and his attend- 
ance at Oxford during the only session of the Parliament 
so suddenly dismissed by Charles. 

" These letters are written with such a neglect of 
style, and often of grammar, as may disgust the admirers 
of well-turned periods ; and they contain such frequent 
repetitions of homely tenderness, as may shock the sen- 
timental readers of the present day. But they evince 
the enjoyment of a happiness, built on such rational 
foundations, and so truly appreciated by its possessors, as 
too seldom occurs in the history of the human heart. 
They are impressed, too, with the marks of a cheerful 
mind, a social spirit, and every indication of a character 
prepared to enjoy the sunshine, or meet the storms of life. 
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LADY AOSSBLL. 9 

*< Thus gift^, and tkus situated, her tender and pro-> 
pketic exhortations, both to her lord and herself, to merit 
the continuance of such happiness, and to secure its per^ 
feet enjoyment by being prepared for its loss, are not 
less striking than his entire and absolute confidence in her 
character, and attachment to her society. It was thus, 
surely, that intellectual beings of different sexes were in- 
tended by their great Creator to go through the world 
together ; — thus united, not only in hand and heart, but 
in principles, in intellect, in views, and in dispositions ;^^ 
each pursuing one common and noble end, their own im- 
provement, and the happiness of those around them, by 
the different means appropriate to their sex and situa- 
tion; — mutually correcting, sustaining, and strengthen- 
ing each other, undegraded by all practices of tyranny on 
the one part, and of deceit on the other ; — each finding 
a candid but severe judge in the understanding, and a 
warm and partial advocate in the heart of their compa- 
nion ; — secure of a refuge ftom the vexations, the follies, 
the misunderstandings, and the evils of the world, in the 
arms of each other, and in the inestimable enjoyments of 
unlimited confidence and unrestrained intimacy. 

" The frequent mention made of the health, progress, 
and amusements of the children, proves how much every 
thing that concerned them occupied, as well as interested 
their parents. Such details might be tedious to the reader, 
were it not consoling to trace the minute features of ten- 
derness in characters, which afterward proved capable of 
the sternest exertion of human fortitude." 

FROM LONDON TO STRATTON. 

Sept. 23, 1672. 
" If I were more fortunate in my expression, I could 
do myself more right when. I would own to my dearest 
Mr. Russell what real and perfect happiness I enjoy, 
from that kindness he allows me every day to receive new 
marks of, such as, in spite of the knowle<i^e I have of my 
own wants [deficiencies], will not suffer me to mistrust I 
want his love, though I do merit to so desirable a bless- 

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10 BIOGRAPHY OF 

ing ; but, my best life, you that know so well how to 
love and to oblige, make my felicity entire, by believing 
my heart possessed with all the gratitude, honour, and 
pasaonate affection to your person, any creature is capable 
of, or can be- obliged to ; and this granted, what have I 
to ask but a continuance (if God see fit) of these present 
enjoyments ? — ^if not, a submission, without murmur, to 
his most wise dispensations and unerring providence, 
having a thankful heart for the years I have been so per- 
fectly contented in. He knows best when we have had 
'enough here. What I most earnestly beg from his mercy 
is, that we both live so as, whichever goes first, the other 
may not sorrow as for one of whom they have no hope. 
Then let us cheerfully expect to be together to a good 
old age ; if not, let us not doubt but he will support us 
under what trial he will inflict upon them. These are 
necessary meditations sometimes, that we may not be sur- 
prised above our strength by a sudden accident, being un- 
prepared. Excuse me if I dwell too long upon it ; — ^it is 
from my opinion that if we can be prepared for all con- 
ditions, we can, with the greater tranquillity, enjoy the 
present, which I hope will be long, though when we 
change, it will be for the better, I trust, through the 
merits of Christ. Let us daily pray it may be so, and 
then admit of no fears. Death is the extremest evil 
against nature, it is true ; — ^let us overcome the immo- 
derate fear of it, either to our friend or self, and then 
what light hearts may we live with. But I am immode- 
rate in the length of my discourse, and consider this is to 
be a letter. To take myself off, and alter the subject, I 
will tell you that the news came on Sunday night to the 
Duke of York that he was a married man. He was 
talking in the drawing-room when the French ambassador 
brought the letters in and told the news ; — the Duke 
turned about and said, < Then I am a married man.' It 
proved to be the Princess of Modena. She is to have 
100,000 francs paid her; and now we may say she has 
more wit than ever woman had before, — as much beauty 
and greater youth than is necessary. He sent his daughter, 
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LADY RUSSELL. 11 

Lady Mary,* word the same night he had provided a 
play-fellow for her. ♦ ♦ * * 

" I hope Friday will bring the chiefest desire in the 
world by your 

« R. Vaughan." 

FROM LONDON TO STRATTON. 

Feb. 10, 1675. 

" What reputation writing this may give me, the 
chamber being full of ladies, I know not, but I am sure 
to be ill in that heart (to whose person I send this) I dare 
not hazard ; and since he expects a letter from me, by 
neglect I shall make no omission, and without doubt the 
performance of it is a pleasanter thing than I have had 
sense of from the time we parted ; and all acts of obedi- 
ence must be so to my dearest man, who, I trust in God, 
is well, but ill entertained, I fear, at Stratton, but what 
the good company repairs. The weather is here very 
ill, and the winds so high, that I desire to hope you do 
not lie in our old chamber, being afraid when I think you 
do. Our little Fubs| is very well — made her usual court 
to her grandfather just now, who is a little melancholy for 
his horses ; but they are all sent to take the air at Ken- 
sington, or somewhere out of town. My Lord's gelding 
is dead, and more saddle-horses, and one coach-horse, I 
think.' * » » ♦ * 

" I am, my best love, more than I can tell you, and as 
much as I ought, — Yours, 

« R. Vaughan." 

FROM LONDON TO STRATTON. 

Feb. 11, 1675. 
" Every new promise of Mr. Russell's unalterable 
kindness is a most unspeakable delight to my thoughts, 

* She married the Prince of Orang^e ; — ^they afterwards came to 
the throne, under the title of William and Mary. She was then 
eleven years old. 

f Their little daughter. 

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12 BIOGRAPHY OF 

therefore I need use no more words to tell you how wel- 
come your letter was to me ; but how much welcomer 

Monday will be, I hope vou do ima^ne. * * 

• « * « • * 

" Our girl is as you left her, I bless the mercy of God 
for it. I have silently retired to my little dressing-room 
for this performance, the next being full of company at 
cards. I am engaged with Northumberland ; * but at 
nothing, nor to nothing upon earth entirely, but to my 
dear Mr. Russell ; — his I am with the most passionate 
affection. 

« R. Vaughan." 

FROM TICHFIELD TO LONDON. 

Aug. 22, 1675. Sunday NigM. 
" I write this to my dear Mr. Russell, because I love 
to be busied in either speaking of him or to him ; but 
the pretence I take is lest that I wrote yesterday should 
miscarry ;— so this may again inform you at London, that 
your coach shall be at Harford Bridge (if God permit) 
upon Thursday night to wait your coming, and on Satur- 
day I hope to be at Stratton, and my sister also. This 
day she resolved it, so her coach will bring us all, as I 
think, to contrive it, or at least with the help of the cha- 
riot and cart-horses ; but I think to send you the coach, 
to save sending six horses for it, for a pair will bring the 
chariot. It is an inexpressible joy to consider, I shall see 
the person in the world I most and only long to be with, 
before another week is past. I should condemn my sense 
of this expected happiness as weak and pitiful, if I could 
tell it to you. No, my best life, I can say little, but 
think all you can, and you cannot think too much : my 
heart makes it all good. I perfectly know my infinite 
obligations to Mr. Russell ; and in it is the delight of her 
life, who is as much yours as you desire she should be. 

« R. Vaughan." 

* Lady Percy, her half-sister. 
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LADY RUSSELL. IS 



PROM LONDON TO 8TRATT0N. 

Aug. 24, 1696. 
" You bid me write on Thursday, but civility obliged 
me to that to answer yours, so that this is to show my 
obedience to your orders, and a little indulgence to my own 
self ; since I do love to talk any way with Mr. Russell, 
though he does abuse poor me sometimes. You had like 
to have vexed me bravely by Jack Vaughan's letter ; I 
was putting that up in my pocket to read two or three 
days after, at leisure ; I saw you had opened it, but as it 
was going up, finding one in it, it came in my mind, if he 
should have put in one, it might be for a trick, how it 
would vex me ! so broke your seal, and was very happy 
by doing so. Oh, my best life, how long I think it since we 
were together ! I can forgive you if you do not do so, upon 
condition you do not stay too long away. Your coach, by 
the grace of God, shall be at Bagshot on Wednesday 
night ; and on Thursday will, I hope, bring my wishes to 
me. I know nothing there is to give you notice of from 
hence. The joiners will end their work to-day in the 
new room. There is no coping bricks till Monday ; nor 
till you come to her, no entire satisfaction in the heart 
of your affectionate R. Vaughan." 

FROM LONDON TO WOBURN. 

April 12, 1677. 
" I have staid till past eight, that I might have as much 
intelligence as I knew how to get. Spencer promised to 
be here this evening, but I find him not in my chamber, 
where I expected him at my coming home ; for I have 
spent the afternoon with my sister Allington,* and by all 
our travels could not improve my knowledge, as I extreme- 
ly desired to do, that I might entertain your dear self the 
better by this letter ; else could be content to be as ig- 
norant to-monrow morning as I was this ; for all my ends 
and designs in this world are to be as useful and accept- 

* Lord Russell's sister, married to Lord Allington. 

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14 BIOGRAPHY OF 

able to my dear Mr Russell as I can, to deserve better, 
if I could, that dear and real kindness I faithfully believe 
his goodness suffers me to enjoy. My cousin Spencer has 
just come. The inclosed papers I copied from one I^ord 
Allington gave me last night ; it is the King's message to 
the House yesterday. This day the debate held till four 
o'clock ; and the result of it is, you have ordered a second 
address to thank his Majesty for taking into consideration 
your first,* and to desire he would, if he please, pursue what 
in that they desired ; and that they might not be wanting, 
they have added a clause (if the King accepts of it) to the 
money-bill, that gives him credit to use two hundred 
thousand of that money toward new alliances ; promising, 
if he do see cause to lay it out, to replace it him again. 
This, as Sir Hugh Cholmondelay says, is not pleasing at 
court ; expectations were much higher. The Lords have 
not agreed with the Commons. The House was in a 
way of agreeing, and the Speaker pressed it ; till, after three 
hours' debate, he told them suddenly he had mistook the 
thing, that he knew the House nice upon money -matters, 
and the Lords had only a negative in money-concerns ; 
and this seemed an affirmative, so put it to the question, 
but would not divide the House, though if they had, the 
ayes would have carried it, it is believed. To-morrow at 
two is a conference with the Lords. ♦ * * 

" Your girls very well. Miss Rachel has prattled a 
long story ; but Watkinsf calls for my letter, so I must 
omit it. She says. Papa has sent for her to Wobee, and 
then she gallops and says she has been there, and a great 
deal more ; but boiled oysters call, so my story must 
rest. She will send no duty, she is positive in it. I pre- 
sent you all any creature can pay : I owe you as much. 

« R. Vaughan." 

* The first address was for entering into an alliance with Holland 
against France for the preservation of the Netherlands. The second 
was to the same purpose ; when it was presented, the 25th of May 
following, it produced a sharp reprimand from the French-loving 
monarch for prescribing what alliances he was to make, and pro- 
duced an acyoumment of the House. 

■f The house-steward. 
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LADY RDSSELL. 15 

On the 14th of March 1678, the House of Commons 
had resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to con- 
sider the state of the nation. Charles the Second had no 
legitimate children, and his brother James, Duke of 
York, the next heir to the crown, was a bigoted Catho- 
lic, — Whence a large party wished to exclude him from the 
succession. The motion for the above-mentioned com- 
mittee was made by Lord Russell, in the following words : 
" I move that we may go into a committee of the whole 
House, to consider of the sad and deplorable condition 
we are in, and the apprehensions we are under of Popery 
and a standing army, and that we may consider of some 
way to save ourselves from ruin." The Court made great 
exertions to resist these proceedings. 

The following letter from Lady Russell may have 
been to dissuade her Lord from making a motion so very 
offensive to the King and the Duke ; or, perhaps, it was- 
some step of a still more decided nature, concerning 
which he took her advice. The note was preserved by 
him, and indorsed as being received while the House of 
Commons was sitting, which seems to prove that it made 
some impression upon him : — 

" My sister Allington being here, teHs me she over- 
heard you tell her Lord last night that you would take 
notice of the business (you know what I mean) in the 
House. This alarms me, and I do earnestly beg of you 
to tell me truly if you have or mean to do it. If you do, 
I am most assured you will repent it. I beg once more 
to know the truth. It is more pain to be in doubt, and 
to your sister too ; and if I have any interest, I use it 
to beg your silence in this case, at least to-day. 

« R. Russell.*' 



' March the — 1677-8, 
While the House was sitting.' 



! 



FROM LONDON TO BASING. 

February y 1679- 
" I was very sorry to read anything under your hand, 
written so late, as I had one brought me to Montague 

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16 BIOGRAPHY OF 

House ; but I heard yesterday morning, by a servant of 
njy Lord Marquis, you got well to Teddington, so I hope 
you did to Basing, and our poor Stratton, and . will by 
Saturday night to the creature of the world that loves 
you best. I have lived so retired, since you went, as the 
severest and jealous husband could enjoin a wife ; so that 
I am not fitted to entertain you with passages in the 
town, knowing no more how the world goes than an Italian 
lady* they say, usually does. * * * 

" Our small ones are as you left them, I praise God. 
Miss writes and lays the letters by, that papa may admire 
them when he comes« It is a moment more wished for 
than to be expressed by all the eloquence I am mistress 
of) yet you know how much that is ; but my dear abuser 
I love more than m; life, and am entirely his. 

" R. RcssfiLL.'* 

The following letter, written at thb time, is among the 
very f^w extant from Lord Russell to his wife : — 

Basing, Feb. 8, 1678-9. 
<' I am stole from a great many gentlemen into the 
drawing-room at Basing, for a moment, to tell my dear- 
est I have thought of her being here the last time, and 
wished for her a thousand times ; but in vain, alas ! for 
I am just going now to Stratton, and want the chariot, 
and my dearest dear in it. I hope to be with you on 
Saturday. We have had a very troublesome journey of 
it, and insignificant enough, by the fairness and excess of 
civility of somebody ; but more of that when I see you. 
I long for the time, and am, more than you can imagine, 
your 

Russell. 

" I am troubled at the weather for our ownselves, but 
much more for my sister. Pray God it may have no ill 
effect upon her, and that we may have a happy meeting 
on Saturday. I am Miss's humble servant." 



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LADY RUSSELL. 17 



FROM LONDON TO LORD RUSSELL AT WOBURN ABBEY. 

Feb. 15, 1679. 
" At dinner at Lord Shaftesbury's I received your 
letter, and found nothing in it that hindered my offering 
it him to read ; — ^he did so at the table, and some part of 
it to the company. I wish the day * over, but fear it is 
so likely to be a troublesome one, that I shall not see 
you so soon as my last desired ; yet if it may be, I wish 
for it — ^the main reason is, to discourse something of that 
affair my uncle Ruvigny was on Sunday so long with me 
about. It is urged, and your Lordship is thought a ne- 
cessary person to advise with about it.^ Your t^sks are 
like to be difficult in town and country : I pray God 
direct your judgment in all your actions. I saw Sir 
leveril at Lord Shaftesbury's, who told him my Lord 
Russell was a greater man than he, for he was but one 
knight, and Lord Russell would be two.:( Sir leveril 
answered, if it were in his power he should be a hundred. 
This is but one of many fine things I heard to-day, yet 

my heart thinks abundantly more due to my man. 
* * * 4c 

My love, I am in pain till Tuesday is past, because I am 
sure you have a great deal. I am, to the last minute of 
my life, your most obedient wife, 

« R. Russell." 

FROM LONDON TO STRATTON. 

1680. 

" My thoughts being ever best pleased when I, in some 
kind or other, entertain myself with the dearest of men, 
you may be sure I do most willingly prepare this for Mr. 
Chandler. If I do hear to-morrow from you, it will be 
a great pleasure to know you got well to Stratton, though 

* The elections were then pending. 

f Perhaps this refers to the bill for excluding the Duke of York 
from the throne. 

X During the Parliament elections, Lord Russell was returned 
both for Bedfordshire and Hampshire. 

VOL. III. NO. XXI. B , , .,?i?S> 

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18 BIOGEAPHY OF 

I fear for you every day, knowiog you will frisk out 
abroad. » » » ^ lady Q^t of 

the city told me it was certain there was before the 
Mayor yesterday, examinations of some apprentices con- 
cerning a new plot ; and that five did take their oaths it 
was to put the Lords* out of the Tower, and bum them 
and the Duchess of Portsmouth f together. This is the 
latest design I hear of. If any other discoveries be made 
between this and Tuesday night, I hope I shall not fail 
to be your informer, and after that that you will be 
quickly mine again : I long for it truly, my dear. Miss 
says $he means to write herself, so I have no messages. 
I am so well pleased to be alone, and scribbling, that I 
never consider the matter. Pardon, my dear love, (as 
you have a thousand other Rulings,) all the nonsense of 
this, and accept the passionate, kind intentions of yours, 

« R. Russell " 

FROM LONDON TO 8TRATT0N. 

June 12, 1680. 
*^ My dearest heart, flesh and blood cannot have a truer 
and greater sense of their own happiness than your poor 
but honest wife has. I am glad you find Stratton so 
sweet — may you live to do so one fifty years more ; and, 
if God pleases, I shall be glad I may keep your company- 
most of those years, unless you wish other at any time ; 
then I think I could willingly leave all in the world, 
knowing you would take care of our brats ; — they are 
both well, and your great one's letter she hopes came to 
you. * * * J hope your 

letter will bring no worse news than I send — your girls 
and your wife being as well as my best love left them, I 
praise God. Little Kate makes her journey often to papa, 
but the other keeps her cares in her breast. * * 

* Four noblemen confined in the Tower on suspicion of beinjv 
concerned in the pretended plot of the Papists to murder the King. 

f The favourite mistress of Charles I. much disliked by the 
people, because she was supposed to use her influence to attach 
the King to the French interest. 
■230, 

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UUDT RQS8SLL. 19 

I wish your business so soon dispatehed, ^at I will not 
take more of your time tban is just necessary to tell you, 
you have a loving creature of your 

" R. Russell." 

FROM LONDON TO STRATTON. 

1680. 

" These are the pleasing moments, in absence, my 
dearest blessing, either to read something from you or be 
writing something to you ; yet I never do it but I am 
touched with a sensible regret, that I cannot pour out in 
words what my heart is so big with, which is much more 
just to your dear self (in a passionate return of love and 
gratitude) than I can teli you ; but it is not my talent, 
and so I hope not a necessary signification of the truth 
of it, at least not thought so by you. I hear you had the 
opportunity of makiHg your court handsomely at Bag- 
shot, * if you had had the grace to have ti^en the good 
fortune offered. » * ♦ * 

FROM LONDON TO WO BURN. 

Avg. 24, 1680. 
" Absent or present, my dearest life is equally oblig- 
ing, and ever the earthly delight of my soul. It is my 
great care (or ought to be so) so to moderate my sense 
of happiness her^, that when the appointed time comes 
of my leaving it, or its leaving me, I may not be unwill- 
ing to forsake the one, or be in some measure prepared 
and fit to bear the trial of the other. This very hot 
weather does incommode me, but otherwise I am very 
well, and both your girls. Your letter was cherished as 
it deserved, and so, I make no doubt, was hers,t which 
she took very ill I should suspect she was directed in, as 
truly I thought she was, the fancy was so pretty. My 
sister and Lady Inchiquin are coming, so that I must 



' The Duke of Yorit was then residing there. 
t Th eir eldest little girl. 

1^ 



dbyGoogk 



20 BIOGRAPHY OF 

leave a better diversion for a worse ; but my thoughts 
often return where all my delight is. I am yours entirely, 

" R. Russell." 

FROM LONDON TO WO BURN. 

Sept. 6, 1680. 
" My girls and I being just risen from dinner, Miss 
Rachel followed me into my chamber, and seeing me take 
the pen and ink, asked me what I was going to do ? I 
told her I was going to write to her papa. * So will I,* 
said she ; ^ and while you write, I will think what I have 
to say.' And truly, before I could write one word, she 
came and told me she had done, so I set down her 
words ; and she is hard at the business, as I am not, one 
would conclude by the pertinence of this beginning. 
But my dear man has taken me for better and worse in 
all conditions, and knows mj soul to him ; so expressions 
are but a pleasure to myself, not him, who believes better 
things of me than my ill rhetoric will induce him to by 
my words. To this minute I am not one jot vriser as to 
intelligence, (whatever other improvements my study has 
made me,) but I hope the afternoon's conversation will 
better me that way. Lady Shaftesbury sends me word 
if her Lord continues as well as he was this morning, I 
shall see her ; and my sister was visiting yesterday. I 
will suck the honey from them all, if they will be com- 
municative. Your birds came safe to feast us to-morrow. 
— I am yours, my dear love, 

« R. Russell." 

FROM LONDON TO WOBURN. 

Sept. 17, 1680. 
" These moments of true pleasure, I proposed at the 
opening of your letter, were hugely disappointed; first, 
when I found less than one, would despatch in the read- 
ing of it ; and secondly, yet more, that I could not pro- 
long my delight as usual, by reflections on those expres- 
sions, I receive as the joy of my unworthy life, which can 
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LADT RUSSELL. 21 

never be miserable in any accident of it, whilst my affection- 
ate heart can think you mine, as I do now. But your head- 
ache over night, and a dinner at Bedford next day, gives 
me more than ordinary longings for a new report of your 
health, in this crazy time. * » * 

" Dispose, I beseech you, of my duty and service and 
all other ways, as you please, in all particulars, of your ever 
faithful, obedient, passionately affectionate wife, 

" R. Russell." 

" Mrs. Cellier* stood this day in the pillory, but her 
head was not put in the hole, but defended one side of 
her head, as a kind of battledore did the other, which she 
held in her hand. All the stones that were thrown with- 
in reach, she look up and put in her pocket." 

FROM STRATTON TO LONDON. 

During the sitting of Parliament, 1680. 
Stratton, Thursday night. 

" Sending your victuals by the higler, I take the same 
opportunity to let my dearest know I have his by -coach, 
and do humbly and heartily praise God for the refreshing 
news of his being well : yet you do not in words tell me if 
you are very well ; and your going- to the House tells no 
more than that you are not very ill. If your nose bleeds 
as it did, pray let me beg of you to give yourself time to 
bleed in the arm. My heart, be assured mine is not easy, till 
I am where you are ; therefore send us a coach as soon 
as you can ; it shall find us ready as whenever it comes, 
if God bless us to be well. I wrote more fully to this 
purpose in the morning, only I am willing to hint it 
again, in case of its miscarriage. I have sent up one maid 
this day, and on Monday all follow. It seems to me the 
ladies at Petworth [the residence of her haff-sistery 

* Mrs. Cellier was a nurse of the Roman Catholic religion : a 
woman of some cleverness, but of very bad character. She had 
been charged with being concerned in the Popish plot, but was 
acquitted. Being afterwards convicted of the publication of a Ubel, 
called * Malice Defeated,' she was sentenced to stand three times 
in the pillory, and fined a thousand pounds. 

^ 233 

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22 BI06EAPBY OF 

Lady Perey"] are as particular to the Marquis as they 
were to the Duke before ; but the woudroua things he 
telb^ I may aim at^ but shall never guess, nor care to do 
it, — or anything else but to move towards London, and 
meet my better life, as I wish to see hin well and mine, 
as I am his, and so to be to an old i^ ; but, s^ve all, 
praying for hearts and minds fitly disposed to submit to 
the wise and merciful dispensations of the great God. 
From the sharpest trials, good Lord preserve us, if it may 
be. I guess my Lord* will soon be in town^^ray pre- 
sent my duty to him. Our girls are very well : we were 
altogether at the farm-house this day. Pray keep good 
hours. — Believe me your obedient wife, 

« R- Russell.* 

FROM LONDON TO WOBVRN. 

Feb. 1680. Tuesday Night. 

" Since you resolve not to he here till Thursday, this 

may come time enough to tell you we are all well ; and 

I will say little more, guessing this as likely to miss of 

coming to your hands, as to be read by you, since I hope 

you lie at Dunstable to-morrow. I shall defer answering 

any particular of your last till we meet, and then I shall 

fail, I doubt, of my psfft in some ; but it will be by my 

incapacity, who can never be what I should or would ta 

my best and dearest life ; but I will ever submit. 
* * * ♦ 

I am in a little haste, and am content to be so, because 
I think what I have said is to no purpose ; but I defy 
Lord Russell to wish for Thursday with more joy and 
passion, and will make him own he has a thousand times 
less reason \o do so^ than has his 

" R. Russell." 

FROM LONDON TO 8TRATTON. 

About Feb. \Q^\. 
" From the opinion I have that Lord Russell is a very 

* The Earl of Bedford, Lord Russell s father. 

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LADY RUSSBLL. 23 

sincere personage, I am very well pleased with all the 
parts of his letter, that he came in good time to his inn, 
and had really such kind reflections as he tells me of. I 
hope we shall enjoy those dozen years he speaks of, and 
cannot forbear wishing to double them : as one pleasuj^e 
passes, I doubt not but we shall find new. ones, — our 
nursery will help to furnish us, — ^it is in good order, I 
thank God. Your father came this morning, and gave 
me the report of Devonshire elections. * » * 
Your own story of thieves, and ^o many as we hear of 
every day, makes me very desirous of your being at poor 
Southampton House * again, in the ^ms of your 

« R. Russell." 

FROM LONDON TO OXFORD. 

Ma/rch, 1681. 
" I hope my dearest did not interpret amiss any action 
of mine, from seven o'clock Thursday night to nine on 
Friday morning. I am certain I had sufficient punish- 
ment for the ill conduct I used, of the short time then 
left us to spend together, without so terrible an addition ; 
besides, I was really sorry I could not scribble as you told 
me you designed I should, not only that I might please 
myself with remembering I had done you some little ser- 
vice at parting, but possibly I might have prevailed for 
the laying by a smart word or so, which will now pass 
current, unless you will oblige a wife, after eleven jears, 
by making such a sacrifice to her now and then, upon 
occasions offered. # ♦ * •pjj^ 

report of our nursery, I humbly praise God, is very good. 
Master f improves really, I think, every day. Sure he 
is a goodly child : the more I see of others, the better 

* It was situated on the north side of Bloomsbury Square, then 
called Southampton Square, London. Lord and Lady Russell 
usually passed the winters at Southampton House, and the summers 
at Stratton. After their death, their re^dence in London descended 
to their grandson, and received the name of Bedford House. It 
was pulled down by the Duke of Bedford in 1600. 

f Her infant son. 

^ 235 

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24 BIOGRAPHY OF 

he appears. I hope God will pve him life and virtne- 
Misses and their mamma walked yesterday to see their 
cousin Allinetoj). * Miss Kate wished to see him, so I 
gratified her little person. — Yours only entirely, 

" R. Russell." 

" Look to your pockets: a printed paper says you 
will have fine papers put into them, and then witnesses to 
swear .''f 

FROM LONDON TO OXFORD. 

MarcK 1681. 

" I cannot express to my dearest, how pleasant to me 

the sight of his hand is ; yet I readily excuse the seeing 

of it, when he cannot perform it at a seasonable hour, or 

that he is pressed with more weighty affairs, so that i 

may be assured he will let me know if he be not well. 
* ♦ * He 

" The children are all well. I think this is sufficient 
for one time, from your obediently affectionate wife, 

« R. Russell." 
" My duty to papa." { 

FROM STRATTON TO FRTMLEY. 

1681. 

" A messenger, bringing things from Alsford this 
morning, gives me the opportunity of sending this by 
the post. If he will leave it at Frimley, it will let you 
know we are all well, — ^if he does not, it may let such 
know it as do not care, but satisfy no one's curiosity in 
any other point ; for having said thus much, I am ready 
to conclude with this one secret — first, that as thy pre- 
cious self is the most endearing husband, I believe, in the 
world, so am I the most grateful wife, and my heart most 

* A new-born son of Lady Allington's. 

t The caution here given conveys a vivid idea of the suspicion and 
insecurity of the times. 

% These last words are written by the child. 

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LADY RUSSELL. 25 

gladly passionate in its returns. Now you have all for 
this time, from your 

« R. Russell." 
" Boy is asleep, girls singing a-bed." 

FROM STRATTON TO FRIMLEY. 

1681. 

** It is so much pleasure to me to write to you, when 
I shall see you so soon after, that I cannot deny myself 
the entertainment. My head will lie the easier on my 
pillow, where I am just going to lay it down, as soon as I 
have scribbled this side of paper. All has been well here 
since you, our best life, went. I need not tell you I re- 
ceived your letter ; Will Wright coming shows it : nor 
I need less say anything to acquaint your dear self the 
joys it brought with it, from the expressions in it to poor 
unworthy me. Some alloys possibly I found, but I defer 
that matter till Friday, when I hope once more to be 
blessed with the sight of what I love best. — Good night, 
dearest life : love your 

" R. Russell." 

FROM STRATTON TO LONDON. 

Sept. 20, 1681. 
" To see anybody preparing, and taking their way to 
see what I long to do a thousand times more than they, 
makes me not endure to suffer their going, without say- 
ing something to my best life, though it is a kind of anti- 
cipating my joy when we shall meet to allow myself so 
much before the time ; but I confess I feel a great deal, 
that, though I left London with reluctance, (as it is easy 
to persuade men that a woman does,) yet that I am not 
like to leave Stratton with greater. They will tell you 
how well I got hither, and how well I found our dear 
treasure here : your boy will please you — you will, I 
think, find him improved, though I tell ,you so before- 
hand. They fancy he wanted you, for as soon as I 
ah'ghted, he followed, calling papa ; but, I suppose, it is 

237 

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26 BIOGRAPHY OF 

the word he has most command of, so was not disobliged 
by the little fellow. The girls were fine in remembrance 
of the happy 29th of September ; * and we drank your 
health after a red-deer pie, and at night yomr girls and I 
supped on sack-posset, — nay, master would have his 
room, and for haste burnt his fingers in the posset, but 
he does but rub his hands for it. It is the most glorious 
weather here that ever was seen. The coach shall meet 
you at the cabbage-garden, — ^be there by eight o'clock or 
a little after, though I guess you can hardly be there so 
soon, day breaks so late ; and indeed the mornings are 
so misty, it is not wholesome to be in the air so early. 
I do propose going to my neighbour Worsley to-day- 
I would fain be telling my heart more things — anything 
to be in a kind of talk with him ; but I believe Spencer 
stays for my despatch. He was willing to go early ; but 
this was to be the delight of this morning, and the sup- 
port of the day. It is performed in bed, thy pillow at 
my back, where thy dear head shall lie, I hope, to- 
morrow night, and many more. I trust in His mercy, 
notwithstanding all our enemies or ill-wishers. Love, and 
be willing to be loved by 

" R. Russell." 

FROM STRATTON TO LONDON. 

Oc*. 20, 1681. 
" The hopes I have, my dearest life, that this will be 
the concluding epistle, for this time, msdces me undertake 
it with more cheerfulness than my others. We are very 
busy in preparing, and full of expectation to see a coach 
come for us." 

After some remarks about conveying the hawks, dogs, 
&c. to town, she proceeds : — 

'' I hope you will tell us your mind about these things 
to-morrow, if you can think of any thing but Parliamen- 
tary affairs. I pray God direct all* your consultations 

* Lord Rosseli^s birth-day. 
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LADY RDSSBLL. 27 

there ; and, my dearest dear, you guess my mind. A 
word to the wise. I never longed more earnestly to be 
with you, for whom I have a thousand kind and grateful 
thoughts. You know of whom I learned this expression. 
If I could have found one more fit to speak the passion 
of my soul, I should send it you with joy ; but I submit 
with great content to imitate, but never shall attain to 
any equality, except that of sincerity, and I will ever be 
(by God's grace) what I ought and profess, thy faithful, 
affectionate, and obedient wife, 

" R. Russell." 

'' Miss sends me word she is well, and hopes to see 
papa quickly ; so does one more." 

FROM 8TRATT0N TO LONDON. 

Nov. 1681. Monday y 10 o^ clock. 
" I have felt one true delight this morning already^ 
being just come from our nurseries, and now am preparing 
for another, — ^these being my true moments of pleasure, 
till the presence of my dearest life is before my eyes 
again. How I long for it, I will not go about to tell 
you, nor how I take your abusing me about my perfec- 
tions : you should leave those things for your brother to 
say, when occasion serves. » * ♦ 

Yours entirely, 

« R. Russell." 

'' Miss brings me her mite ; but there has been almost 
wet eyes about it, she thinks it so ill done." 

FROM 8TRATT0N TO LONDON. 

Nw. 22, 1681. 
" As often as you are absent, we are taught, by expe- 
rience, who gives life to this house and family ; but we 
dodge on in a dull way, as well as we can. * * 

* * * I have just come from 

our little master — ^he is very well ; so I left him, and saw 
your girls a-lacing. Miss Kate says, sure papa is upon 

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28 BIOGRAPHY OF 

the road. I wish for Wednesday, that I may know if I 
am to hope he will be so this week. * * 

* * One remembrance more, my best 

life, — ^be wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove. So fare- 
well for this time. — Yours, 

« R. Russell." 

The following letter from Lord Russell to his wife, is 
dated 

N(yv. 26, 1681. 

" I suppose you received mine of Thursday. I hope 
this will be the last time^ for this bout, of troubling you 
in this kind ; for on Thursday, God willing, I intend to 
set out to go to my dearest dear's embraces, which, upon 
my word, I value now as much as I did ten, eleven, or 
twelve years ago, and more than any the town can afford, 
now you are out of it. On Monday we intend to be at 
Westminster, to be bail for my Lord Shaftesbury, in 
case it be demanded ; and I hear the Lieutenant of the 
Tower has order to bring him Lord Howard, * Wilmore, 
and Whitaker ; so that it is concluded they will be re- 
leased, although some talk as if they would bring fresh 
matter, but I do not believe it. It is thought by some 
of your friends, where we dined together when you were 
in town, that the fair man was the person most troubled 
at Thursday's business ; and really by his looks, and what 
he said to-day in my hearing, one would have thought so. 
If the coach can conveniently come to Hertford Bridge 
on Tuesday, let it, — else Will Wright will ride upon 
great Dun, and lead little one. 

" I come just now from eating oysters with your sis- 
ter, which shall be all my supper ; and I hope to get to 
bed earlier than I have been able to do hitherto. My 
father is not come to town. Farewell, nay dearest : kiss 
my little children from me ; and believe me to be, as 
entirely as I am, yours, and only yours, 

" Russell." 

* Imprisoned on the siupicion of having contrived a treasonable 
pamphlet. 
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LADY RUSSBLL. 29 



FROM STRATTON TO LONDON. 

SepU2by 1682. 
" I staid till I came from church, that I might, as late 
as 1 could, tell you all your concerns here are just as you 
left them. The young man * as mad, winking at me, and 
striking with his drumstick whatever comes to his reach. 
If I had written before church, while my morning draught f 
was in my head, this might have entertained you better ; 
but now those fumes are laid, I find my spirits more dull 
than usual, as I have more cause — the much dearer and 
pleasante^ part of my life being absent from me : I leave 
my Lord Russell to guess who that is. * * 

* ♦• I know nothing new since you went ; 

but I know, as certainly as I live, that I have been for 
twelve years as passionate a lover as ever woman was, and 
hope to be so one twelve years more : happy still, and en- 
tirely yours. 

« R. Russell.*' 

Alas ! this hope was never to be realized ! Lord Rus- 
sell was a friend to liberty, and made no secret of his op- 
position to the unrestrained prerogative of the King. He 
thought the people were right in being jealous of French 
influence, and of the ever restless intrigues of the Roman 
Catholics at that period. Charles the Second and his 
brother James were warmly attached to the French 
court, from which they had recefved much kindness dur- 
ing the administration of Cromwell ; and, perhaps, in 
their inmost hearts they could never forgive the English 
nation for having beheaded their father. It was natural 
that the licentious Charles, so far as he cared for any re- 
ligion, should prefer that, which, by half an hour's cere- 
mony on his death-bed, offered to absolve all the errors 
of a most sinful life ; — ^he was, however, too coldly selfish 
to endanger his throne by an avowal of sentiments so dis- 

* Her infant son . 

t Coffee and tea were scarcely knowji in England at this period, 
— wine-posset was used for breakfast. 



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#^ 



30 BIOGBAPHY OP 

tasteful to his subjects. The Duke of York, on the con- 
trary, made no concealment of his bigoted attachment to 
the Church of Rome ; and when we reflect how hard that 
church struggled to regain its former despotic power, by 
means of its able and most effective instruments the Je- 
suits, we cannot be surprised at the universal alarm 
which prevailed among the English Protestants. 

It has already been mentioned that Lord Russell zeal- 
ously favoured the bill to exclude James from succession 
to the throne. But Charles was obstinately bent upon 
supporting his brother's claims ; and, what was still worse, 
the indolent monarch allowed him to possess great influ- 
ence, which was generally exerted in favour of the most 
unjust and tyrannical measures. Waller remarked, that 
" Charles, in spite to the Parliament, who had deter- 
mined the Duke should not succeed him, was resolved 
that he should reign even in his lifetime." 

In this state of things, discontent was universal ; and 
there seemed to be no redress for the people, unless they 
could gain it by strong and determined resistance. A 
council of six was formed to consult upon what measures 
were necessary to be taken to check the despotic pro- 
ceedings of Cnarles and his brother. 

" This council consisted of the Duke of Monmoutb 
(the King's natural son) — Lord Russell — Lord Essex — 
Lord Howard — Algernon Sidney, son of the Earl of 
Leicester — and John Hampden, grandson of the great 
Parliamentary leader. • The members of this council dif- 
fered extremely in their views. Sidney was passionate 
for a republic. Essex had embraced the same project. 
Monmouth entertained hopes of obtaining the crown for 
himself. Russell and Hampden were much attached to 
the ancient constitution, and intended only the exclusion 
of the Duke of York, and the redress of grievances." 

But it unfortunately happened, that while these gentle- 
men were concerting schemes to restrain the abuse of 
kingly power, an inferior and more violent order of mal- 
contents, among whom were some of the old officers of 
Cromwell's army, were holding meetings, in which they 
openly talked of assassinating the King and the Duke, 
242 

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LAPY RUSSELL. 31 

under the familiar appellation of lopping. Lord Shaftes- 
bury, a rash man, whom the disaffected were in the habit 
of regarding as their leader, employed these men as his 
tools, unknown to Russell and his friends. It seems, in- 
deed, that Lord Shaftesbury formed the only link be- 
tween two plots totally dissimilar in their characters, and 
in the motives which originated them. Lord Russell ac- 
companied the Duke of Monmouth and Lord Grey one 
evening to the house of a wine-merchant, in whom they 
confided. They expected to meet Lord Shaftesbury and 
some of their friends ; but finding no one, except two of 
the desperate characters, above mentioned, they were 
displeased with the company, and entered into no con- 
versation, — Lord Russell merely stopped to taste some 
wines he wished to purchase, and they departed. The 
designs of these violent men were betrayed by the 
treachery of one of their confidants. Lord Shaftesbury, 
the only one who had countenanced them, went into 
Holland, where he died. The virtuous Lord Russell 
would have been at any time shocked with schemes of 
blood ; but the brief interview with Lord Shaftesbury's 
creatures, at the wine- merchant's, proved of fatal conse- 
quence to him. These men became witnesses against 
him ; but, for that circumstance, he might have escaped 
the utmost malice of the crown, as did his friend Hamp- 
den. Being in the company of these conspirators was 
construed into a proof of knowing and sharing all their 
designs. Lord Russell was arrested, and the seizure of 
his associates soon followed. The dastardly and unprin- 
cipled Lord Howard confessed all he knew, in order to 
save his own miserable life. It was proved that Lord 
Russell, Essex, Hampden, &c. intended resistance to the 
government, in some form or other, at some indefinite 
time. All who from fear, or the love of reward, were 
friends to the Duke of York, were anxious to represent 
the two plots as one and the same : hence Lord Russell 
and his friends were charged with projected insurrection 
and intent to take the King's life. 

The Duke of Monmouth absconded, although his royal 
father came very near ensnaring him by that insidious 

243 

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32 BIOGRAPHY Of 

policy which always characterized his dealings with man- 
Sidney was beheaded — ^rejoicing to the last that he 
died in " the good old cause of republicanism." Lord 
Howard was the only evidence against Hampden, and 
the statute required two witnesses: the crown lawyers 
were therefore unable to make out a case of high trea- 
son ; but they managed to obtain a sentence against him 
for misdemeanour, and fined him the enormous sum of 
forty thousand pounds. Lord Essex was at his house 
in the country, when he heard that his friend Lord 
Russell was arrested. He made no attempt to escape ; 
and when it was tkrged upon him, he replied that he 
would not do it, lest his flight should be construed into 
an evidence of guilt, and thus do an injury to Lord 
Russell's cause : *' My own life is not worth saving," said 
he, " if, by so doing, I bring his into danger." 

He was committed to the Tower ; and, on the very 
morning of Lord Russell's trial, he was found with his 
throat cut, said to be done by his own hand — a circum- 
stance of which the court made great use to the prejudice 
of Lord Russell. Even Hume, whose feelings are always 
on the Tory side, acknowledges that a most unjustifiable 
use was made of this incident. Considering the tender- 
ness Lord Essex had expressed toward, Lord Russell's 
cause, suspicions very naturally arose that he did not die 
by his own hand. The King and the Duke of York had 
made a visit to the Tower that morning, under pretence 
of inspecting the ordnance. Two children, a boy and 
^irl, from ten to twelve years old, heard a great noise 
from his window, and affirmed thatlhey saw a hand throw 
out a bloody razor. The boy afterward contradicted his 
statement in open court ; but his father had an office in 
the custom-house, of which the King could deprive him. 

• The King had a most affectionate interview with the Duchess 
of Monmouth, advising her to conceal her husband in her own 
apartment, which he sacredly promised should not be searched. 
The^Duke being informed of this, said, " I will not trust him." 
The event proved that his suspicions were right ; for the apartment 
of the Duchess was the first place searched. 

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LADY RtJBSBLL. 33 

The girl always stood firmly to her story. On the other 
hand, it was said that Lord Essex was sithject to very 
deep fits of melancholy, — ^that he had been heard to vin- 
dicate suicide,— 4hilt ahiong other things, which he had 
ordered to be sent, from his house, he had called for a 
penknife and a razor ; and the surgeons declared that his 
throat was cut in such a manner that he must have done 
it himself. The real truth can never be known in this 
world ; and historians and readers will judge- of the trans- 
action according to their opinions of the Duke of York. 

From the mannertin- which Lford Russell was taken up, 
it iseemed as if the court, always crooked and cowardly 
in its proceedings, were willing to connive at his escape. 
Burnet <tell6 us that the day before Lord Russell was ar- 
tested, a messenger was obsewed many hours waiting 
near lus door — <* A measure that was taken in so open 
and careless a manner, (the back door of his house not 
being watched,) as led to the suspit;ion that it was in- 
tended to frighten him away." Had Lord Russell fallen 
into this snare, it would have saved them from the odium 
of his death, and would have given them a fine opportu- 
nity to blacken his character. But he, conscious of no 
other political opinions than those which he had long and 
openly avowed in Parliament, refused to avail himself of 
this insidious measure ; and his " faithful, obedient, and 
most affectionate wife" was tempted by no unworthy 
weakness to ad>vise him to a course of conduct inconsist- 
ent with his innocence and honour. 

-Lord Russell would not attempt to leave the house 
while the messenger from the council was pacing before 
his door, although he was ignorant of what, and by whom 
he was accused. His lady was sent to obtain information 
and consult his friends, — ^with what anxiety the task was per- 
formed, we can well imagine. Lord Russell was so well 
aware of the virulence of his enemies, that, from the mo- 
ment of his arrest, he began to prepare his mind for 
death. But this conviction occasioned no despondency 
in him, nor did it prevent her from using every honour- 
able-endeavour to save his precious life. During the 
fortnight that elapsed between his commitment to the 

VOL. III. NO. XXI. s 245 

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34 BIOGRAPHY OF 

Tower and his trial, she was diligently employed in pro- 
curing information as to what was likely to be urged 
against him, and in adopting every measure of precau* 
tion. She accompanied him to Court on the day of his 
trial, — on which occasion the crowd was so great, that 
the counsel complained of not having room to stand. 
When Lord Russell requested to have a person to take 
notes of the trial for him, the Chief Justice said, ^' Any 
of your servants shall assist you in writing any thing you 
please." To which , Lord Russell replied, " My wife is 
here to do it." As he spoke, the excellent daughter of 
the virtuous Southampton rose up, and stood by his side. 
At this sight, a thrill of anguish ran through the crowded 
audience. Her father's services — ^her husband's unsus- 
pected patriotism — the excellence of his private life, and 
their known domestic happiness — all combined to give 
her a peculiar claim upon public sympathy. It is much 
to be regretted that history does not inform us how she 
supported herself through that fatal day, nor how she re- 
ceived the tidings of the death of Lord Essex, which was 
suddenly brought into Court, and which she was aware 
would have a material influence on her husband's destiny. 
We only know that she so commanded her feelings, as 
neither to disturb the Court, nor distract the attention 
of her husband. 

Lord Russell was not mistaken in what he had to ex- 
pect from the violence of his unprincipled enemies. The 
lawyers, desirous of paying court to the royal brothers, 
resorted to subtle evasions. The prisoner's strict adher- 
ence to truth would not idlow him to deny that he had 
assisted in plans of resistance to the king's despotic mea- 
sures ; false charges were artfully mixed up with true ones, 
and he was not allowed to point out the difference between 
them. At one time, he intended to make a full confes- 
sion of all he had done and all he had thought ; but his 
counsel suggested that use might be made of his dis- 
closures to endanger his friends ; and Lord Russell was 
not a man to save himself by sacrificing others. He there- 
fore simply pleaded not guilty to any designs upon the 
king's persoit, and threw himself upon the laws of his 

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LADY RUSSELL. 35 

country, which no doubt would have saved him if justice 
had been allowed to have its course. But even Lord 
Russell's virtues were turned against him ; it being said 
that the great estimation in which he was held made him 
dangerous. The jury was picked out with great care, 
and consisted entirely of men strongly prejudiced in favour 
of the king and his brother. Some objections were made 
to this jury, but they" were over-ruled. It was thought 
that Chief-Justice Pemberton did not state the matter 
with sufficient eagerness against the noble prisoner, and 
he was soon after turned out of his office. Sergeant Jef- 
fries, afterward the detestable Judge Jeffiries, made an 
insolent speech full of fury and indecent invectives ; and 
in his address to the jury, he turned the untimely fate of 
Essex into a proof of his consciousness of the conspiracy. 
This brutal wretch was soon after appointed Chief Justice, 
and afterward Lord Chancellor. His life was divided 
between drunken riots and judicial murders. His name 
ought to be handed down to the everlasting execration 
of posterity, in common with all other judges, English or 
American, who allow personal enmity, or political preju- 
dice to influence their decisions. There is but one crime 
equal to thus poisoning the fountain of justice ; and that 
was committed by the priest, who administered death to 
his enemy in the form of the holy sacrament. 

Lord Russell's behaviour during his trial was calm and 
dignified. He expected to die, and was not disappointed 
when the jury brought in a verdict against him. 

The following extract from the London Gem for 
1831, is historically true in facts, though some of the de- 
tails are imagined. The editor may be blamed for in- 
serting it in the midst of a well-authenticated biography ; 
but the heart becomes so painfully interested in the 
lovely and most excellent Lady Russell, that we are 
eager to supply the deficiencies of history, and to imagine 
just what she said, and how she looked, during those 
agonizing scenes, which would have broken her heart, had 
not love been stronger than death : — 

<* At last her task was finished, — quietly she laid down her pen, 
— her eyes and her hand were weary, and her heart was sick al- 

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36 BIOGBAPHY OP 

most unto death. She had heard the oonnetioD and die condem- 
nation of her husband ; but not a sob, not a sound, had escaped 
her lips ; — she had come prepared to hear, and, with God s help, 
to sustain the worst, without uttering a word that might agitate her 
toeloved husband, or shake his grave and manly composure. When 
she rose up to accompany him from Court, evory eye was turned 
toward them, and several of the kind and compassionate wept 
aloud ; but the Lady Russell was enabled to depart with the same 
sweet and modest self-possession — still her husband's nearest, 
dearest companion. When they reached his prison, she gave way 
to no wild and passionate bursts of grief; but, repressing every 
. murmur, she sat down, and began to discuss with him all and every 
possible means of honourably saving his life. He had a settled con- 
viction that every exertion would be in vain, and secretly gave him<' 
self to prepare for inevitable death ; but, to please and satisfy her, 
he entered into all her plans, at least consulted with her upon them ; 
and, at her request particularly, drew up a petition to the Duke of 
York, which, however, proved utterly fhiitless — the Duke of York 
being his determined and relentless enemy. 

'* Still the Lady Russell was unwearied, and resolved that no- 
thing should daunt her. To the king she determined to go in 
person, and to plead at his feet for her husband's life. 

" When she reached Whitehall, she could not choose but re- 
member with what different feelings she had before ascended the 
staircase, and passed along the stately galleries of the beautiful pa- 
lace. She thought of the first time she entered those walls ; she 
thought of her light heart, her girlish curiosity, when those around 
her, and she herself had been loved' and welcomed visiters to the 
royal presence. Fearful that an audience might be refused her, if 
her name or errand were told before-hand to the king, she had come 
with a very private equipage, her servants wearing a plain livery. 
She had before requested one of the lords in waiting, to whom she 
was well known, and in whose noble and friendly spirit she could 
place full confidence, to give her an opportunity of seeing the king, 
and to announce her merely as a gentlewoman of condition, who 
had solicited an interview ; and she now besought him so earnestly 
to allow her to be admitted into the ante-reom to the chamber 
where the king was then sitting, that, after some decided refusals, 
jind much hesitation, he at last permitted her to follow him. In a 
few minutes she was left alone in that ante-chamber ; for it hap- 
pened that a little page, who had been uHxiiing there, wot called away 
for a short time aa the and Lord entered, 

** She soon distinguished the king's voice from the room within, 
for its tones were loud and sonorous ; and the latch of the door, 
though pulled to, had not caught, so that the door stood partly 
open : * Who is it would see us, did you say ?' The Lady Russell 
drew near, and bent her ear that she might not lose a word. ' A 
gentlewoman of condition has demanded a private interview with 
your majesty.' 

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LADY RU88RLL. 37 

^* The i^ordt were htrdly spoken when a light, yet loud hiugh 
rung through the chamber, and a woman's voice cried out, in tones 
of raillery, * You are a dangerous messenger, my lord ; there may 
be peril to the king's heart in such an interview/ * Pshaw, Pshaw,* 
interrupted the ki^, half joining in the laugh, and speaking in a 
tone of heavy merriment : ' teQ me this lady's age ; is she young 
or old, for much depends on that ?' ' She is a young and noble 
matron,' was the quiet, grave reply. ' But how does she call her- 
self?' was the continued inquiry in the same jocular voice. * She bade 
me say agentlewoman of condition. ' ' Sir, ' said the king impatiently, 
' no trifling, if you please I — What is the woman's name ? — Do you 
know her name ?' * I cannot tell your nuyesty an untruth,' replied 
the nobleman ; I do know her name.' * Why, then, do you not de- 
clare it ?' * Because, sire, I was forbidden by the lady to do so, 
and as a gentleman of honour — .' * As a genUeman of honour, you 
may be bound to your gentlewoman of condition, and may keep 
silence as far as she is concerned ; but as I am also a party concerned, 
allow me to decline the favour of this interview with your gentle- 
woman of condition ; I have seen mysterious affairs enough of late, 
and there may be danger in this interview.' ' I would stake my life, 
sire, there is none,' said the nobleman ; * and I will go beyond my 
commission, and (Usclose a name unsullied and pure, and lovely to 
the ear, being made so by her who bears it ; the blameless, but un- 
happy Lady Russell, is the gentlewoman that has sought an audience 
with your ms^aty.' * Oh I I cannot see her,' cried the king, raising 
his voice ; * I forbid you to admit her to my presence. Remem- 
ber, sir, I am. positive. Much as I pity the Laidy Russell, I cannot 
see her : why ^ould unnecessary pain be given to her and to my- 
self? Tell her this from me.' * Alas, sire, I dread to deliver so dis- 
heartening a message fVom your gracious majesty, she is already in 
so woful a plight. I know not what her hopes may be of urging 
her suit with siM»ess ; but I know she did hope to* hear a refural, if 
she must have one, given from no other lips than yours : even now 
she waits anxiously, fondly hoping that your majesty will see her.' 
Here again the female voice was heard ; kind and almost coaxing 
were its tones :— r* Do see her — do admit her — poor unhappy lady ! 
my heart bleeds for her — ^you may be stern to men, but you would 
never let a woman beg in vain.' ' It is to save a woman's feelings,' 
replied the king, in .a softer voice than he had yet spoken : * Do not 
urge me — you know, that his life cannot be spared — ^you know it is 
impossible.* Dismiss the lady at once, my lord, with the assurance 
of my regret. You said that she was waiting, — where did you leave 
her ?' * She waits in the ante-room to this very chamber. ' * So near, 
fiirrah 1' excUiimed the king ; < thou hast taken a most unwarrantable 
Uberty . ' ' She begged that I would let her follow me, ' said the noble- 
man ; ' and her importunity was so great and sudden, that she pre- 
vailed against my calmer judgment.' * Let there be no mistake con- 
tinued in,* cried the king *■ and weary me no longer with your expla- 
nations. IMsmisa the lady instantly.' 

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38 BIOGRAPHY OF 

" The Lady Rossell had heard all that had been spoken ; had 
hung breathless on every word ; and her heart had sunk within her, 
when she found how firmly the king seemed opposed to showing- 
any mercy to her husband. She had blessed the woman, whose 
voice pleaded so kindly for her, though she guessed, and guessed 
rightly, that she was blessing the frail Louise de Querouaille, then 
Duchess of Portsmouth. 

'* She heard the receding steps of the lord in waiting, and felt 
that in another moment her opportunity would be gone. She did 
not stop to think or hesitate, but threw open the door, and ad- 
vanced quietly and meekly to the very centre of the chamber. 

** The room which Lady Russell entered, watf of large dimensions, 
and furnished rather with splendid luxuriousness than elegance. 
The windows opened into a balcony, filled with orange trees in full 
blossom, and the atmosphere of the chamber was richly scented with 
the delicious perfume of the flowers: the walls were hung alter- 
nately with some of Lely's beautiful but wanton portraits, and with 
broad pier-glasses; and the profusion of gilding with which the 
sculptured frames and cornices, the tables, the couches and seats of 
various descriptions, were enriched, dazzled and fatigued the gaze. 
Upon and underneath one table, amid piles of music, lay several 
kinds of lutes and other musical instruments. ' On another, an ivory 
casket of jewels stood open, glowing and blazing in a flood of sun- 
shine. Before a broad slab of the richest green marble, q)po8ite 
one of the looking-glasses, sat Louise de Querouaille, on a low 
ottoman. She had been reading aloud to the idle monarch, and 
her book, — a loose French romance, — lay upon the table, the place 
kept open by a bracelet of large pearls. Very near her the king- 
was carelessly reclining upon a sofa covered with cushions of Ge- 
noa velvet: his attention had been divided between listening to 
the French romance, and listlessly looking over a collection of OUver's 
exquisitely painted miniatures, some of which lay on the sofa be- 
side him, others on the marble table. Into this chamber a pure 
and modest matron had entered, to plead for the life of one of the 
most noble and upright gentlemen of the land ; had she much chance 
of success with mch a ruler ? * I am prepared,' said the Lady 
Russell, as she kneeled before the king, *■ to bear though not ta 
brave your migesty's just anger. My coming thus uncalled into your 
presence is an intrusion, an impertinence, which the king may not 
perchance forgive ; but I make my appeal not to the king, but to 
the gentleman before whom I kneel.' Charles, who had sat asto- 
nished rather than angry at the unexpected appearance of the lady, 
rose up at these words, and, tenderly raising her, led her to a seat 
with that gallant courteousness in which he was excelled by no one 
in his day. < My boldness is very great,' she continued ; * butgriei^ 
makes me forget all difference of station : I am alive only to the 
power conferred upon your majesty's high station by the Almighty 
and most merciful of kings. Forgive a wife, once a very happy- 
wife, if she implores you to use that power in its most blessed ex- 
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LADY RDSSSLL. 39 

«rcise of mercy. Tfai^ that on the breath of your lips it depends 
whether the whole future course of a life, long so supremely happy, 
shall be gloom and wretchedness to the grave. But let me not take 
so selfish a part as to plead only for my own happiness. Do justice 
to an upright, honest subject ; or if you deem him faulty, (and who 
is not?) do not visit a fault with that dreadful doom that you would 
give to wickedness and crime. Nay, for yourself, for your own 
good interest, do not let them rob you of a servant whose fellow 
may not easily be found, one who shall serve your majesty with more 
true faithfulness than many that have been more forward in their 
words.' 

" The king listened with attention, with well-bred and courteous 
attention, and thMi expressed, with soft and well-bred excuses, his 
deep regret that it was impossible, beyond his power, as one bound 
to consider the welfare of the State, to accede to her entreaties : 
and as he spoke, the Lady Russell could not help contrasting the 
artful softness of his voice and manner with the rough, but far 
more honest, refusal she had heard when waiting in the ante-room. 

** Charles ceased speaking ; and the Lady Russell, who had con- 
tinued seated all the time she spoke, and who had spoken with mo- 
dest and reverent dignity of manner, still sat calm, sad, and motion- ~ 
less, perplexed and silenced by his cold, easy self-possession. 

** * There is then no hope ?' she at length exclaimed. The mon- 
arch met the melancholy gaze of her soft eyes, as she asked the 
hopeless question, and the few words in which he replied were in- 
tended to destroy all hope ; yet they were spoken in the same smooth, 
courteous tone. 

* * She rose up, but she did not go ; still she remained standing where 
she rose up, calm, bewildered, her lips unclosed, her eyes cast down, 
as if unwilling to depart, yet too stupified by grief and disappoint- 
ment to know what to say : too abashed, indeed, by his polite indif- 
ference, to know how to act. At last she roused herself; and as 
she lifted up her head, a clearness and brightness came into her 
eyes, and over her brow, and over her whole countenance. * I must 
not, will not go abashed and confounded,' she thought within her- 
self; * I must not lose this last, this very last opportunity, I can 
ever have of saving him. ' * Bear with my importunity, ' she said, with 
a feminine sweetness, which, notwithstanding the deep dejection 
that hung on every look and every word, was inexpressibly fascina- 
ting ; * bear with me, and do not bid me rise, till 1 have been heard :' 
and she again threw herself at the feet of the king. ' At least let 
me speak in my own name, let me urge my own claims to your 
gracious mercy. As the dai^hter of Thomas Wriothesley, your 
long-tried servant, your royal father's faithful and favoured friend, 
1 humbly ask for pity and for mercy ; forget not your friend and 
your father's friend. Alas, sire, you are not one to whom affliction 
is unknown.; your heart is not hardened, I am sure it cannot be, 
against such calamities as mine are likely to be very soon. You 
have known,' she added, raising her clasped hands, and her meek 

251 

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40 BIOOBAPHT or 

and ioBocflnt f«ccw> over whiob the ttu^Mmod fast y *: ycni bane 
known oiie«.who»aloyediand.honoiUDed.head sras ero^ly laid low ; 
you have aeen somethHig. of what a vidowand a> motben auflfera in 
such a deflate estate as maieiwill be^. I feai^ too^sooii. : ito^.iio ! 
you do not mvundentaad met^you know. weU« oi whon^ I speak. 
Imagine what your royal mother would' have felt, had;8he.kiietole(l9'' 
as I do now, to one who could faave.aaared the Itfe of hatr beloveds 
and noble husband ; and pity — pray, pray, pity me !:-t- — What^ not 
one word — one kind,, pitying word !' She turned her eyes, as one 
who looks for help on either aide; and her glance feU upon Vote 
frail, but kind-hearte*d Louise de Qnerouaille, who sat weeping 
and sobbing with unaffected feeling*- The LadjK Jlus^ rose from 
her knees, and went to her;. — * Madam,' she said entreatingly^ 
*■ they say you have much inflaenoe with the king : I am sure you 
have a kind heart ; come and beg that for pity's sake, he will hear 
me.' The Duchesa of Portsmouth- did not. refuses-she came for<^ 
ward. Ju8t then a ttdet-door ioa# gently openedf and iha Duie af^ 
York entered the. apartment. He stopped, and staned ^ all. presenb 
with a look of apparent astonishment : for a moment his eye met 
that of the king ; but he said, not a word, walked to the farther enci 
of the room^ laid on the table a packet of papers, which he carried 
in his hand, and seemed to occupy himself busily with them. The 
Lady Russell felt, that if ever, thene had been a hope of success for 
her, there was now none. The king was still as courteous, and as 
smooth in speech as before, though a little more comiiianding ia 
his manner. The Duchess of Portsmouth W|is still careless to hide 
her weeping, and, kneeling in her tears before the king, she implored 
for Lord Russella pardon ; and she herself, the wretched, heart- 
stricken wife, redoubled her entreaties ; nay, at last she ceased to 
ask for pardon, (seeing that her prayer was utterly in vain) and 
begged but foe a respite of six weeks for her condemned husband. 
She turned to the Duke of York : — coldly and civilly he begged to 
decline offering any interferenee. The only wx>nls he spoke were 
those by which. he replied, to the- Lady Russell.; and he would have 
seemed to her entirely occupied with his papers, had. she not once 
or twice observed his eye fixed with a calm and. penetrating glance 
upon his royal brother. At last, the king grew weary; his dark 
brow lowered heavily, andhi»strongly marked and saturnine features 
assumed an expression not commonly harsh and unpleasant^* What I ' 
said he angrily,, and almost brutally, * shall I grant that man six. 
weeks, who, if he had it in his power, would not have granted me 
six hours I ' 

'* The poor, insulted lady spoke not another word of entreaty. 
She arose at once, and, with a grave, meek sorrow, at once digni* 
fied and sweetly humble, she departed. The Lady Russell went 
forth from the palace, convinced in her own mind that her basband's 
life would not be spared ; ajod, more at peace than she had been, 
for many days, she could scarcely understand how with such a settled 
convictioa she could be calm. But she began to see the gracious 
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LADY RUSSELL. 41 

doNgn of Him to whom she prayed so coii8tonUy,'to prepare her for 
her heaviest trial hy the stroog supports and consolations of his^grace. 
She entered her husband's cell, with a firm step and an untroubled 
countenance, and told him herself and at once, with a voice that fal- 
tered only when she began to speak, that according to his expectation, 
her errand to Whiteliall had been utterly useless." * * 

All other possible measures were used to save Lord 
Russell. The Earl of Bedford, his father, offered the 
Duchess of Portsmouth the enormous sum of one hun- 
dred thousand pounds, if she would procure his pardon ; 
but notwithstanding her notorious love of money, she 
either did not dare to move in the case, or her exertions 
were rendered unavailing by some influence even stronger 
than hers. Lord Cavendish, a talented, high-spirited, 
though dissipated nobleman, was, both personally and po- 
litically, a warm friend to Lord Russell. He generously 
offered to manage his escape, and to stay in prison for 
him, while he should go away in his clothes ; but Lord 
Russell would not listen to such a proposition. The 
Duke of Monmouth hkewise sent word, that if it would 
do him any service, he would come in and run fortunes 
with him. Lord Russell replied, that it could be no ad)- 
vantage to him to have his friends die with him. 

Oldmixon informs us, that Lord Cavendish likewise 
proposed that a chosen party of horse should attack the 
guard as the coach passed on the way to the place of 
execution, by the street turning into Smithfield, while 
another party did the same on the Old Bailey side, to 
take Lord Russell out, and, mounting him on a horsey 
make off with him — a design which the people would 
have most cordially facilitated. But Lord Russell would 
by no means consent that his friends should risk their 
lives to save his. He had submitted his case to the* deci- 
sion of the laws, and he was resolved to abide the penalty. 

Doctors Burnet and Tillotson, in hopes of saving his 
life, tried to prevail upon him to acknowledge to the 
King that subjects had, in no case whatever, a right to 
resist the throne. Lord Russell replied, " Upon such 
an hypothesis, I see no difference between our govern- 
ment and the Turkish. I can have no conceptions of a 

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42 BIOGRAPHY OP 

limited monai^hy, which has not a right to defend its own 
limitations ; and my conscience will not permit me to say 
otherwise to the King." His heroic wife approved of this 
answer. She never wished to save his life by any base 
compliance, or by the abjuration of the noble truths for 
which he was persecuted ; — she shared in his steady ad- 
herence to his principles, as she shared in his sufferings 
for them. All the concession she had ever asked him to 
make, was to write to the Duke of York, promising, if his 
life were spared, to live beyond sea, and never again 
mingle with English politics. He took the step to satisfy 
her, though he himself had no hope. 

The Marquis de Rouvigny, the maternal uncle of 
Lady Russell, had a good deal of influence with Louis 
the Fourteenth ; and it is said, that he prevailed upon 
that monarch to write a* letter to Charles the Second, in 
favour of Lord Russell. When Charles heard that 
Rouvigny was coming over with this letter, he said, ^^ I 
cannot prevent the Marquis from coming here ; but Lord 
Russell's head shall be struck off before he arrives." 

Doctor Burnet was with Lord Russell every day in 
prison, and accompanied him to the scaffold ; and he has 
given some»very interesting details of what occurred dur- 
ing the last moments of his life. He says — ^^ All the 
while he expressed a very Christian temper, without 
sharpness or resentment, vanity or affectation. His ^hole 
behaviour looked like a triumph over death. Upon some 
occasions, as at table, or when his friends came to see 
him, he was decently cheerful. I was by him when the 
sheriffs came to show him the warrant for his execution. 
He read it with indifference ; and when they were gone, 
he told me it was not decent to be merry with such a 
matter, otherwise he was near telling Rich, (who, though 
he was now of the other side, yet had been a member of 
the House of Commons, and had voted for the exclusion 
of the Duke of York,) that they should never sit together 
in the House any more to vote for the Bill of Exclusion. 
The day before hb death he fell a bleeding at the nose ; 
upon that he said to me pleasantly, < I shall not now let 
blood to divert this : that will be done to-morrow.' At 
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LADY RCSSELL. 43 

night it rained hard : and he ssdd, ^ Such a rain to- 
morrow will spoil a great show, which was a dull thing in 
a rainy day/ He said the sins of his youth lay heavy 
upon his mind ; hut he hoped God had forgiven them, for 
he was sure he had forsaken them, and for many years he 
had walked before God with a sincere heart : if, in his 
public actings, he had committed errors, they were only 
the errors of his understanding ; for he had no private 
ends nor ill designs of his own in them. He was still of 
opinion that the King was limited by law, and that when 
he broke through those limits, his subjects might defend 
themselves and restrain him : he thought a violent death 
was a very desirable way of ending one's life, — ^it was 
only the being exposed to be a little gazed at, and to 
suffer the pain of one minute, which he was confident was 
not equal to the pain of drawing a tooth. He said he 
felt none of those transports that some good people felt ; 
but he had a full calm in his mind, no psdpitation of 
heart, nor trembling at the thoughts of death. He was 
much concerned at the cloud that seemed to be now over 
his country ; but he hoped his death would do more ser- 
vice than his life could have done. He thought it was 
necessary for him to leave a paper behind hini at his 
death ; and because he had not been accustomed to draw 
such papers, he desired me to give him a scheme of the 
heads fit to be spoken to, and of the order in which they 
should be laid, which I did ; and he was for three days 
employed for some time in the morning to write out his 
speech.. He ordered four copies to be made of it, all 
which he signed ; and gave the original, with three of 
the copies, to his lady, and kept the other to give to the 
sheriffs on the scaffold. He writ it with great care ; and 
the passages that were tender he writ in papers apart, and 
showed them to his lady and to myself, before he writ 
them out &ir. He was very easy when this was ended. 
He also writ a letter to the King, in which he asked par- 
don for every thing he had said and done contrary to his 
duty, protesting he was innocent as to all designs against 
his person and government, and that his heart was ever 
devoted to that which he thought was his true interest. 



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#> 



44 BIOGRAPHY OP 

He added, that though he thought he had met with hiurd 
measure, yet he forgave all concerned in it, from the 
highest to the lowest ; and ended, hoping that his Ma- 
jesty's displeasure at him would cease with his own life, 
and that no part of it should fall on his wife and children* 

*< On the Tuesday before Lord Russell's execution, 
after dinner, when his lady was gone, he expressed great 
joy in the magnanimity of spirit he saw in her, and said 
the parting with her was the hardest thing he had to do, 
for he said she would hardly be able to bear it, — ^the con^ 
cem about preserving him filled her mind so now, that it 
in some measure supported her ; but when that would be 
over, he feared the quickness of her spirits would work 
all within her. On Thursday, while my lady was gone 
to try to gain a respite till Monday, * he said, he wished 
she would give over beating every bush, and running so 
about for his preservation ; but when he considered that 
it would be some mitigation of her sorrow, that we left 
nothing undone that could have given any probable hopes, 
he acquiesced ; and indeed I never saw his heart so near 
failing him as when he spake of her, — sometimes I saw a 
tear in his eye, and he would turn about, and presently 
change the discourse. 

" The day before his death, he received the sacrament 
from Tillotson with much devotion. And I preached 
two short sermons to him, which he heard with great af* 
fection. And we were shut up until toward evening. Then 
Lady Russell brought him his little children, that he might 
take leave of them ; in which he maintained his constancy 
of temper, though he was a very fond ffttfaer. Some few 
of his friends likewise came to bid him farewell. He spoke 
to his children in a way suited to their age, and with a 
good measure of cheerfulness, and took leave of his friends 
in a calm manner as surprised them all. Lady Russell re- 
turned alone in the evening. At eleven o'clock she left 
him ; he kissed her four or five times, and she kept her 
sorrow so within herself, that she gave him no disturbance 
by their parting. As soon as she was gone, he said to 

* Even this small boon was denied her. 

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LADY BUSSBLL. 45 

me, < Now the bitterness of death is past ;' for he loved 
and esteemed her beyond expression, as she well deserved 
it in all respects. He ran out into a long discourse con- 
cerning her — ^how great a blessing she had been to him — 
and said, what a misery it would have been to him if she 
had not had that magnanimity of spirit, joined to her ten- 
derness, as never to have desired him to do a base thing 
for the saving of his life. He said there was a signal pro- 
vidence of God in giving him such a wife, where there 
was birth, fortune, great understanding, great religion, 
and great kindness to him ; but her carriage in this extre- 
mity was beyond all. He was glad she and her children were 
to lose nothing by his death ; and it was* a great comfort 
to him that he left his children in such a mother's hands, 
and that she had promised him to take care of herself for 
their sakes ; which I heard her do. 

<< He went into his chamber about midnight : and I 
staid all night in the outer room. He went not to bed 
till about two in the morning ; and was fast asleep till 
four, when, according to his order, we called him. He 
was quickly dressed, but would lose no time in shaving : 
for he said he was not concerned in his good looks that 
day. He went into his chamber six or seven times in the 
morning, and prayed by himself, and then came out to 
Tillfttson and me : he drunk a little tea and some sherry. 
He wound up his watch, and said, * Now I have done 
with time, and am going to eternity.' He asked me what 
he should give the executioner ; I told him ten guineas : 
he said with a smile, it was a pretty thing to give a fee to 
have his own head cut off. W hen the sheri£» called him 
about ten o'clock. Lord Cavendish was waiting below to 
take leave of him. They embraced very tenderly. Lord 
Russell, after he had left him, upon a sudden thought 
came back to him, and pressed him earnestly to apply 
himself more to religion ; and told him what great com- 
fort and support he felt from it now in his extremity. 

<< Tillotson and I went in the coach with him to the 
place of execution. Some of the crowd that filled the 
streets wept, while others insulted : he was touched with 
a tenderness that the one gave him, but did not seem at 

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46 BIOGRAPHY OF 

all proToked by the other. In passing, he looked toward 
Southampton-House : the tear started in his eye, but he 
instantly wiped it away. He was singing psalms a great 
part of the way ; and said, he hoped to sing better very 
soon. Observing the great crowds of people, he said, 
* I hope I shall soon see a much better assembly.' When 
he came to the scaffold, he walked about it four or five 
times. Then he turned to the sheriff and delivered his 
paper. He protested he had always been far from any 
designs against the king's life, or government : he prayed 
God would preserve both, and the Protestant religion. 
He wished all Protestants might love one another, and not 
make way for popery by their animosities. After he had 
delivered the papers, he prayed by himself : then Tillot- 
son prayed with him. After that he prayed again by 
himself, and then undressed himself, and laid his head on 
the block, without the least change of countenance : and" 
it was cut off at two strokes." 

Of Lady Russell we know nothing during this melan- 
choly scene. But who cannot imagine her feelings, till 
the heart aches with the painfulness of sympathy ? While 
there was anything to do for him — while there was a 
shadow of hope — there was something to support her 
fortitude ; but when she had looked on him for the last 
time — when she returned to her desolate home, i^ere 
she was never more to welcome him, — there to count the 
wretched minutes that should elapse before the fatal stroke 
was given — Oh God ! what but thine infinite mercy 
could have supported her through that mortal agony ! 

Lord Russell was beheaded on Saturday, July 21st, 
1683. He died as he had lived : the firm fpend of truth, 
of the Protestant religion, and ofthe liberties of his country. 
His firmness in refusing to make any retraction of senti- 
ments which his conscience approved, is the strongest 
evidence of that integrity and virtue, which gave him so 
much influence in his own time, and have for ever conse- 
crated his name to posterity. In private life he was un- 
exceptionable. His benevolence never kept pace with 
his income ; and the greatest satisfaction he took in the 
prospect of inheriting large estates was, that they would 
258 

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LADY RUSSBLL. 47 

increase his power of doing good.^ — He was not beheaded 
on Tower-Hill, (the common place of execution for men 
of high rank) but in Lincoln's-inn- fields, in order that the 
populace might be humbled by the sight of their favourite 
leader carried through the city, to the place of execution. 
This plan, like most others of a similar kind, produced an 
effect totally different from what was intended. Perhaps 
the death of Lord Russell, followed by that of his friend 
Sidney, tended more than any other single event, to bring 
about the Revolution, which not long aiter for ever freed 
England from the insupportable tyranny of the Stuarts. 
Oldmixon informs us, that the Duke of York descended 
so low in his revenge, as to desire that this innocent noble- 
man might be executed before his own door in Blooms- 
bury- Square : an insult the king himself would not con- 
sent to. 

" The substance of the paper Lord Russell gave the 
sheriff, was, first a profession of his religion, and of his 
sincerity in it ; — that he was of the Church of England, 
biit wished all would unite together against the common 
enemy ; — that churchmen would be less severe, and dis- 
senters less scrupulous. He owned he had a great deal 
against Popery, which he looked on as an idolatrous and 
bloody religion ; but that, though he was at all times 
ready to venture his life for his religion or his country, 
yet that would never have carried him to a black or 
wicked design. No man ever had the impudence to 
move to him any thing with relation to the King's life ; 
he prayed heartily for him, that in his person and govern- 
ment he might be happy both in this world and the next. 
He owned he had been earnest in the matter of the ex- 
clusion, as the best way, in his opinion, to secure both the 
King's life and the Protestant religion ; and to that he 
imputed his present sufferings : but he forgave all con- 
cerned in them, and charged his friends not to think of 
revenge. He thought his sentence was hard : killing by 
forms of law was the worst sort of murder." At the close, 
he says, <* Since my sentence, I have had few thoughts 
but preparatory ones for death ; yet the importunity of 
my friends, and particularly the best and dearest wife in 

259 

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48 BIOOBAPHY OF 

the world, prevailed with me to sign petitions for mj life, 
to which I was ever averse ; for (I thank God) though in 
all respects I have lived the happiest and coatentedest 
man in the world, (for now very near fourteen years,) yet 
I am so willing to leave all, that it was not without ditfi- 
culty that I did any thing for the saving of my life, that 
was hegging ; hut I was willing to let my friends see what 
power they had over me, and that I was not obstinate nor 
sullen, but would do any thing that an honest man could 
do for their satis&ction, which was the only motive that 
9wayed or had any weight with me. 

*' And now to sum up all, as I had not any design 
against the king's life, or the life of any man whatsoever, 
so I never was in any contrivance of altering the govern- 
ment. What the heats, passions, and vanities of other 
men have occasioned, I ought not to be responsible for, 
nor could I help them, though I now suffer for them. But 
the will of the Lord be done, into whose hands I com- 
mend my spirit ! and trust that Thou, O most merciful 
Father, hast forgiven all my tran^essions, the sins of 
my youth, and all the errors of my past life, and that 
Thou, wilt not lay my secret sins and ignorances to my 
charge, but will graciously support me during that small 
time of life now before me, and assist me in my last mo- 
ments, and not leave me then to be disordered by fear, 
or any other temptation, but make the light of thy coun- 
tenance to shine upon me. Thou art my sun and my 
shield, and as thou supportest me by thy grace, so I hope 
thou wilt hereafter crown me with glory, and receive me 
$nto the fellowship of angels and saints, in that blessed 
inheritance purchased for me by my most merciful Re- 
deemer, who is, I trust, at thy right hand, preparing a 
place for me, and is ready to receive me ; into whose 
hands I commend my spirit !" 

The speech of Lord Russell to the sheriffs, and the 

paper he delivered to them at the place of execution, are 

still preserved at Woburn- Abbey in letters of gold. The 

speech was so soon printed, that it was selUng about the 

streets an hour after Lord Russell's death. The King 

and the Duke of York were extremely angry. Doctor 
> 

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LADY RUSSELL. 49 

Buraet was accused of advising and assisting in it, and 
was called before the King to answer for himself. At 
the command of the monarch he read to him a journal 
containing a minute account of all that had passed be- 
tween him and Lord Russell, which he had written at the 
request of Lady Russell. The light in which this pre- 
sented the noble-minded victim was quite as displeasing 
to the Court as the paper delivered to the sheriffs had 
been ; and Dr. Burnet was universally considered as a 
ruined man. 

Lady Russell, in these first days of her despondency, 
was aroused to address a letter to the King, to repel the 
attack made upon her husband's memory, by thus deny- 
ing the authenticity of the papers he left. In this letter 
she does full justice to Dr. Burnet's conduct and senti- 
ments. 

LADY RUSSBLL's LETTER TO CHARLES 11. 

Indorsed by her, *< My letter to the King a few days after my dear 
Lord's death." 

" May it please your Majesty, — I find my husband's 
enemies are not appeased with his blood, but still con- 
tinue to misrepresent him to your Majesty. 'Tis a great 
addition to my sorrows to hear your Majesty is prevailed 
upon to believe, that the paper he delivered to the she- 
riffs at his death was not his own. I can truly say, and 
am ready in the solemnest manner to attest, that I often 
heard him discourse the chiefest matters contained in that 
paper, in the same expressions he therein uses, as some of 
those few relations that were admitted to him can like- 
wise aver. And sure 'tis an argnipeRt of no, grjeat force,, 
that there is a phrase or two nn k ^qxstlier uses, when* 
nothing is more common than to take,'up such \i;Qrds sb w^ < 
like, or are accustomed to, in^ouf eonvlsAation. I beg ^ 
leave farther to avow to your Maje^);, that all that is set / 
down in the paper read to your M^iesty on Sunday night, */ 
to be spoken in my presence, is esi^ctly true,; as I douH 

• The Journal. 
. VOL. III. NO. XXI. T ^ ,,,»,?.§^ 

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50 BIOGRAPHY OP 

not but the rest of the paper is, whidi was writtea at my 
request, and the author of it in all his conversation widi 
my husband, that I was privy to, showed himself a \ojal 
subject to your Majesty, a Dsuthfiil friend to him, and a 
most tender and conscientious minister to his soul. I do 
therefore humbly beg your Majesty would be so chari- 
table to believe, that he who, in all his life was observed 
to act with the greatest clearness and sincerity, would not 
at the point of death do so disingenuous and false a thing, 
as to deliver for his own, what was not properly and ex- 
pressly so. And if, after the loss in such a manner of the 
best husband in the world, I were capable of any conso- 
lation, your Majesty only could afford it by having bet- 
ter thoughts of him, which, when I was so importunate 
to speak with your Majesty, I thought I had some reason 
to believe I should have inclined you to, not from the 
credit of my word, but upon the evidence of what I had 
to say. I hope I have written nothii^ in this that will 
displease your Majesty. If I have, I humbly beg of you 
to consider it as coming from a woman amazed with 
grief: and that you will pardon the daughter of a person 
who served your Majesty's father in his greatest extremi- 
ties, (and your Majesty in your greatest posts,) and one 
that is not conscious of having ever done any thing to 
offend you (before). I shall ever pray for your Majesty's 
long life and happy reign. 

Who am, with all humility. 

May it please your Majesty," &c. 

Not long after this, Dr. Burnet was discharged from 
preaching tne Thursday lecture at St Clement's, for a ser- 
mon on the words — " Save me from the lion's mouth : 
thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns." 
This was thought of dangerous construction, because the 
lion and unicorn supported the king's escutcheon ; so 
timid a thing is tvranny ! He was soon after dismissed 
from being preacher of the Rolls. On the accession of 
James the second, he deemed it safe to leave England ; 
during his reign he resided in Holland, enjoying the 

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LABY RU8SBLL. 51 

friendship and confidence of the Prince and Princess of 
Orange, who afterward came to the English throne. Vio- 
lent pamphlets against Lord Russell, full of bloody charges, 
were published by those hirelings, of whom plenty may 
be found in every age and country, always ready to bow 
down and worship the reigning powers. But although 
Lady RusselPs gentle heart was almost crushed under 
its weight of misery, she was ever a faithful guardian of 
her husband's fame ; and we find her using the utmost 
diligence to have all false charges publicly refuted. The 
course of public events assisted her affectionate endea- 
vours to transmit his name to posterity in unclouded 
lustre. During a temporary reconciliation between Charles 
and his son, Duke of Monmouth, the Duke solemnly aver- 
red that all Lord Russell had stated was strictly true, and 
that in losing him, the king lost the best subject he ever 
had. Other circumstances tended to prove that pretend- 
ed plots had been fabricated, and that even what was true 
had been much exaggerated. In consequence of these 
things, Charles is said to have expressed some regret at 
the severe measures that had been taken. 

In one point of view, it must have been a great conso- 
lation to Lady Russell to have her husband's innocence so 
fully proved, and so universally believed ; but in another 
point of view, it must have aggravated her " raging sorrow," 
to feel that had he but lived a little longer, he mi^ht have 
avoided the dreadful fate, which cut him off in the strength 
of his days. 

Her own pathetic letters will best express the deep 
and abiding sorrow of this meekly-reigned, and most ce- 
lestial woman. 

LADY RUSSELL TO DR. FITZWILLIAM.* 

Wobum-Abbey, Sept. 30, 1683. 

[About two months after Lord Russell's death.]' 

" I need not tell you, good Doctor, how little capable 
I have been of such an exercise as this. You will soon 

* Ho had been chaplain in her father's famOy. 

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52 BIOQEAPHY 07 

find how unfit I am still for it, since my yet disordered 
thoughts can offer me no other than such words as express 
the deepest sorrow, and confused as my yet amazed mind 
is. But such men as you, and particularly one so mucb 
my friend, will, I know, bear with my weakness and com- 
passionate my distress, as you have already done by your 
good letter and excellent prayer. I endeavour to naake 
the best use I can of both ; but I am so evil and unwor- 
thy a creature, that though I have desires, yet I have no 
dispositions or worthiness toward receiving comfort. You 
that knew us both, and how we lived, must allow I have 
just cadse to bewail my loss. I know it is common with 
others to lose a friend ; but to have lived with such a 
one, it may be questioned how few can glory in the like 
happiness, so consequently lament the like loss. Who 
can but shrink from such a blow, till, by the mighty aids 
of his Holy Spirit, we will let the ^ft of God,- which he 
hath put into our hearts, interpose ? That reason which 
sets a measure to our souls in prosperity, will then suggest 
many things which we have seen and heard, to moderate 
us in such sad circumstances as mine. But, alas! my 
understanding is clouded, my faith weak, sense strong, 
and the devil busy to fill my thougbts with false notions, 
difficulties, and doubts, as of a future condition ; * but 
this I hope to make matter of humiliation, not sin. I^ord, 
let me understand the reason of these dark and wounding 
provideitces, that I sink not under the discouragements 
of my own thoughts. I know I have deserved my pun- 
ishment, and will be silent under it ; but yet secretly my 
heart mourns, too sadly, I fear, and cannot be comforted, 
because I have not the dear companion and sharer of all 
my joys and sorrows. I want him to talk with, to walk 
with, to eat and sleep with : all these things are irksome 
to me now, — the day unwelcome, and the night so too : 
all company and meals I would avoid, if it might be ; yet 
all this is that I enjoy not the world in my own way, and 
this sure hinders my comfort. When I see my children 
before me, I remember the pleasure he took in them, — 

• Some words are lost in this sentence. 
264 

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LADT RUSSBLL. 53 

this makes my heart shrink. Can I regret his quitting a 
ksser good for a higger ? Oh ! if I did steadfastly be- 
lieve, I could not be so dejected ; for I will not injure 
myself to say, I offer my mind any inferior consolation 
to supply this loss. No: I most willingly forsake this 
world — ^this vexatious, troublesome world, in which I have 
no other business than to rid my soul of sin, — secure, by 
faith and a good conscience, my eternal interests, — ^with 
patience and courage bear my eminent misfortunes, and 
ever hereafter be above the smiles and frowns of it ; land 
when I have done the remnant of the work appointed me 
on earth, then joyfully wait for the heavenly perfection 
in God's good time, when, by his infinite mercy, I may 
be accounted worthy to enter into the same place of rest 
and repose where he is gone, for whom only I grieve. 
From that contemplation must come my best support. 
Good Doctor, you will think, as you have reason, that I 
set no bounds when I let myself loose to my complaints ; 
but I will release you, first fervently asking the continu- 
ance of your prayers, for your infinitely afflicted, but 
very futhful servant, 

« R. Russell.* ^ ^ 

DR. BURNET TO LADY RUSSELL. 

Feb. 2. 1684. 
***** 

* * "I can truly say, the vast ve- 

neration I have for your Ladyship, both upon his account 
to whom you were so dear, and on your own, which in- 
creaseth with every letter I receive from you, makes me 
impatient if any thing occur that might be matter of cen- 
sure.* I know you act by worthy and noble principles, 
and you have so strange a way of expressing yourself, that 
I sincerely acknowledge my pen is apt to drop out of my 
hand when I begin to write to you, for I am very sensible 
I cannot rise up to your strain. I am confident God has 

* This refers to some advice about a matter not explained, pro- 
bably something which he feared would offend the government. 

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54 BIOGRAPHY OP 

not bestowed such talents on you, and taken such, pains, 
both by kind and severe providences, to distinguish you 
firom most other women in the world, but on a design to 
make you an instrument of much good ; and I am very 
glad you intend to employ so much of your own time in the 
education of your children, that they shall need no other 
governess ; for as it is the greatest part of your duty, so 
it will be a noble entertainment to you, and the best di- 
version and cure of your wounded and wasted spirits. I 
long so much to see your Ladyship, and those about you, 
in this employment, that I hope you will pardon me, if I 
beg leave to come down and wait on you, when the 
Master of the Rolls goes out of town ; for since it was 
not thought fit that I should go on with the Thursday's 
lecture, I am master of my own time during the we^s of 
the vacation ; and I will esteem that which I hope to pass at 
Woburn as the best of them. I will not touch in all this 
letter your deep and ever green and tender wound. I 
believe the touching of it in the softest manner, gives 
more pain than all I can say about it can mitigate ; and 
therefore I shall say no more of it, but that it comes in 
as large a part of my best thoughts that God would give 
you such an inward sense of his love, and of the wisdom 
and kindness of his providence, and of the blessed state 
to which he has raised that dearest part of yourself, and 
whither the rest will follow in due time, that all these 
things may swallow up the bitter sense of the terrible 
stroke you lie under, and may possess you with these true 
and solid joys that are the only proper cure for such a 
wound. But I will dwell no longer on so dismal a sub- 
ject, for I am afraid you dwell too much on it. * * 
* * Now the business of the printer* is at an 

end ; and, considering how it was managed, it has dwindled 
to a very small fine, which one may well say was either 
too much or too little. The true design of the prosecu- 
tion was to find me in it, and so the printer was tampered 
with much to name the author.** * * * 

The printer was convicted of printing a libel, called Lord 
Russell's Speech, and, having made his submission, was fined only 
20 marks. 
266 

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LADY RUSSELL. 55 

Mr. Hosldns, a lawyer, on whose good sense and dis- 
cretion Lady Russell had great reliance, thus writes to 
tier : — *' I am much pleased to hear your Ladyship so 
resolved . to follow your business. Your Ladyship will 
require less help than most others, and are so mucn va- 
lued, that there is nobody of worth but will be glad to 
serve you. Nothing but your sorrows can hinder you 
doing all that is to be done ; and give me leave. Madam, 
as often as it comes in my way, to mind your Ladyship, 
that the hopes your dear Lord had, that you would bear 
liis loss with magnanimity, and nothing would be wanting 
to his children, loosened all the hold this world had of 
him." 

Having been some time at Woburn- Abbey with her, 
in March 1684, the same gentleman, after treating of 
business, says, " I wish I could find your Ladyship had a 
little more overcome your mighty grief. To see how it 
had wasted your body, how heavy it lay upon your mind, 
and how hardly you struggled with it, made me melan- 
choly all the time I was ai Woburn. * » ♦ 
At aJl times and places I shall sadly reflect on your Lady- 
ship, and pray that God would comfort you, and lift up 
your drooping spirit.** 

In the April following, after some details about her 
affairs, he writes — " I do indeed wish well to your Lady- 
ship's affairs ; but what most concerns me is, to see you 
so overwhelmed with grief. I should not doubt their 
good success, were you not so much oppressed with that : 
it pities me to see how hard you struggle with it, and how 
doubtful it is which will overcome. Continue, good 
Madam, to do your utmost, — ^the more you strive, the 
more God will help. All the little service that I have 
done, or can do your Ladyship, are not worth half the 
notice you take of them. There cannot be a greater 
pleasure in the world than serving a person I so much 
value, both on your own account, and upon his of whom 
you were so deplorably bereft." 

But as Lady Russell had never been selfish in pros- 
perity, neither would she be selfish in sorrow. In the 
midst of her affecting struggles with her " mighty grief," 

267 

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56 BIOGRAPHY or 

she n^ected no iromediato duty, either to the memoiy 
of her Lord — ^to her own chiklren — or the children of 
her beloved sister. By the condemnation of Lord Rus- 
sell for treason, the trust of Lady Elizabeth Noel's chil- 
dren devolved upon the King. In a letter concerning 
the re-settlement of her sister's trust, Mr. Hoskins sajs 
— " I cannot but very much approve the gre^ care you 
have of my Lady Elizabeth Noel's children, answerable 
to your near relation and great friendship." 

LADY RUS8ELL TO DR. FITZ WILLIAM. 

" 'Tis above a fortnight, I believe, good Doctor, since 
I received your comforting letter, and 'tis displeasing to 
me that I am but now sitting down to tell you so ; but it 
is allotted to persons under my dismal title, and yet more 
dismal circumstances, to have additional cares, from which 
I am sure I am not exempt, but am very unit to dis- 
charge well or wisely, especially under the oppressions I 
feel ; — ^however, 'tis my lot, and a part of my duty re- 
maining to my choicest friend, and those pledges he has 
left me. That remembrance makes me do my best, and 
so occasions the putting by such employments as suit bet- 
ter my present temper of mind, such as I am now about. 
If in the multitude of those sorrows that possess my soul, 
I find -any refreshments, (though, alas ! such are but mo- 
mentary,) 'tis by casting off some of my crowded thoughts 
to compassionate friends, ' such as deny not to weep with 
those that weep, or in reading such discourses and advices 
as your letter supplies me with. * ♦ ♦ 

You deal with me. Sir, just as I would be dealt withal ; 
and 'tis possible I feel the more smart from my raging 
griefs, because I would not take them off, but upon fit 
considerations :. 'tis easiest to our natures to have our 
deep wounds gently handled ; yet as most profitable, I 
would yield, nay, desire to have mine searched, that, as 
you religiously design it, they may not fester. 'Tis pos- 
sible I grasp at too much of this kind, for a spirit so broke 
by afiliction. I am so jealous that time or necessity, 
(the ordinary abater of all violent passions,) nay, even 
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LADY BDSSBLL. 5? 

employmeot, or company of such friends as I have left, 
should do that which my reason or religion ought to do, 
as makes me covet the best advices, and use all methods 
to obtain such a relief, as I can ever hope for — a silent 
submission to this severe and terrible providence, without 
any ineffective unwillingness to bear what I must suffer ; 
and to gain such a victory over myself, that, when once 
allayed, immoderate passions may not be apt to break 
out again upon fresh occasions and accidents, offering to 
my memory that dear object of my desires, which must 
happen every day, I may say every hour, of the longest 
life I can live, that so, when I must return into the 
world, so far as to act that part which is incumbent on - 
me, in faithfulness to him I owe as much as can be due 
to man, it may be with great strength of spirits and 
grace to live a stricter life of holiness to my God, who 
will not always let me cry to him in vain. On him I will 
wait, till he have pity on me, humbly imploring, that by 
the mighty aids of his Holy Spirit, he will touch my 
heart with greater love to himself, — then I shall be what 
he would have me. But I am unworthy of such spiritual 
blessings, who remain so unthankful a creature for those 
earthly ones I have enjoyed, because I have them no 
longer. Yet God, who knows our frames, will not ex- 
pect that when we are weak we should be strong. This 
is much comfort under my deep dejections, which are 
surely increased by the subtle malice of that great enemy 
of souls, taking all advantage upon my present weak and 
wasted spirits — assaulting me with divers temptations, as 
when I have in any measure overcome one kind, I find 
another in the room : when I am less afflicted, then I 
find reflections troubling me, as omissions of some sort or 
other; that if either greater persuasions had been used 
he had gone away, or solne errors at the trial amended, 
or other appUcations made, he might have been acquitted, 
and so yet have been in the land of the hving (though I 
discharge not these things as faults upon myself, yet as ag^ 
gravations to my sorrow) ; so that not being certain of 
our time being appointed, beyond which we cannot pass, 
my heart shrinks to think his time possibly was shortened 

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58 BIOGRAPHY OF 

by unwise management. I believe I do ill to torment 
myself with such unprofitable thoughts." 

LADY RUSSELL TO Dtl. FITZWILLIAM. 

Wobum Abbey y April 20, 1684. 

♦ * * « The future part 

of my life will not, I expect, pass as I would just choose : 
sense has been long enough gratified ; indeed so long, I 
know not how to live by faith ; yet the pleasant stream 
that fed it near fourteen years together, being gone, I 
have no sort of refreshment, but when I can repair to 
that living fountain, from whence all flows : while I look 
not at the things v^hich are seen, but at those which are 
not seen, expecting that day which will settle and com- 
pose all my tumultuous thoughts in perpetual peace and 
quiet ; but I am undone, irrevocably so, as to my tem- 
poral longings and concerns. Time runs on, and usually 
wears off some of that sharpness of thought inseparable 
with my circumstances, but 1 cannot experience such an 
effect ; every week making me more and more sensible 
of the miserable change in my condition ; but the same 
merciful hand which has held me up from sinking in the 
extremest calamities, will, I verily believe, do so still, that 
I faint not to the end in this sharp conflict, nor add sin 
to my grievous weight of sorrows, by too high a discon- 
tent, which is all I have now to fear. You do, I doubt 
not, observe I let my pen run on too greedily upon this 
subject : indeed it is very hard upon me to restrain it, 
especially to such as pity my distress, and would assist 
toward my relief any way in their power. * * 

* * * I am entertaining some thoughts 

of going to that now desolate place Stratton for a feiw 
days, where I must expect new amazing reflections at 
first, it being a place where I have lived in sweet and full 
content ; considered the condition of others, and thought 
none deserved my envy : but I must pass no more such 
days on earth ; however, places are indeed nothing. 
Where can I dwell that his figure is not present to me ! 
Nor would I have it otherwise ; so I resolve that shall 
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LADY RUSSELL. 59 

be no bar, if it prove requisite for the better acquitting 
any obligation upon me. That which is the immediate 
one, is settling, and indeed giving up the trust, my dear 
lord had from my best sister. Fain would I see that per- 
formed as I know he would have done it had he lived. If 
I find I can do as I desire in it, I will (by God's permis- 
sion) infallibly go ; but indeed not to stay more than two 
or three weeks, my children remaining nere, who shall 
ever have my diligent attendance, therefore shall hasten 
back to them. I do not admit one thought of accepting 
your kind and religious offer, knowing it is not proper. 
If I do go, I take my sister Margaret, and I believe 
Lady Shaftesbury will meet me there. This I choose, 
as thinking some persons being there to whom I would 
observe some rules, will engage me to restrain myself, or 
keep in better bounds my wild sad thoughts. This is all 
I can do for myself. But blest by the good prayers of 
others for me, they will, I hope, help me forward towards 
the great end of our creation. Your ever mournful, but 
ever faithful friend to serve you, R. Russell." 

The " obligation" of going to Stratton was delayed by 
the sickness and death of the heart-stricken mother of 
Lord Russell,* the Countess of Bedford, who died at 
Woburn, on the 1 6th of May ; and after the performance 
of the melancholy duties attendant upon this event, it was 
again postponed on account of the illness of her little son. 
After the recovery of the child, she indulged herself in 
visiting the tomb, which contained the remains of her 
husband, at Chenies in Buckinghamshire. At this pe- 
riod, she thus writes to Dr. Fitzwilliam. 

Wobum-Abbeii^, Jtme, 1 684. 

* * * * " God has been 

. pitiful to my small grace, and removed a threatened blow, 

which must have quickened my sorrows, if not added to 

them — ^the loss of my poor boy. He has been ill ; and 



• * The loTely Lady Anne Carr, daughter of the Earl of Somerset 
by the divorced wife of the Earl of Essex. 

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60 BIOGBAPHY OF 

God has let me see the follj of my imaginations, which 
made me apt to conclude I had nothing left, the depriva- 
tion of which could be matter of much anguish, or its pos- 
session of any considerable refreshment. I have felt the 
falseness of the first notion, for I know not how to part, 
with tolerable ease, from the little creature. I desire to 
do so of the second, and that my thankfulness for the 
real blessing of these children may refresh my labouring, 
weary mind, with some joy and satisfaction, at least in 
my endeavours to do that part toward them, their most 
dear and tender father would not have omitted. And 
which, if successful, though early made unfortunate, may 
conduce to their happiness for the time to come, here 
and hereafter. When I have done this piece of duty to 
my best friend and them, how gladly would I lie down 
by that beloved dust I lately went to visit, (that is, the 
case that holds it.) It is a satisfaction to me you did not 
disprove of what I did in it, as some do that it seems 
have heard of it, though I never mentioned it to any 
besides yourself. Doctor, I had considered ; I went not to 
seek the living among the dead ; I knew I should not see 
him any more, wherever I went ; and I had made a co- 
venant with myself not to break out in unreasonable, 
fruitless passion, but quicken my contemplation whither 
the nobler part was fled, to a country afar oflF, where no 
earthly power bears any sway, nor can put an end to a 
happy society ; there I would willingly be, but we must not 
limit our time ; I hope to wait without impatiency. As 
for the information you require, it is not in my power to 
be punctual. I reckon my first and chief business is my 
attendance on these children, that is, their persons ; and 
till I see the boy in full strength, I dare not leave him, 
though but for one fortnight. I had fixed on the 20th 
of May to go to Stratton, and from that time to this, 
good Lady Shaftesbury has been a constant expectation 
to be summoned to meet me there ; but Lady Bedford's 
death, and then the child, has kept me in this place. He 
has three teeth to cut, and till they be, I am apt to think 
he will hardly recover full strength : it may be iti a week, 
it may be not in a month, as the wise folks say. So you 
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LADY EUSSELL. 61 

see my uncertainties. As soon as I am fixed, you shall 
be sure to know it.** » * * * 

« « « « « 

Instead of her intended journey to Stratton, Lady 
Russell removed from Woburn, the latter part of June, 
to Totteridge in Hertfordshire, for a change of air for 
her boy, and to be nearer the London physicians. She 
carried her elder daughter with her, leaving the younger 
at Woburn, with her grandfather. A letter from the old 
Karl, at this period, shows how much she was beloved by 
her husband's family ; and her affectionate heart seems 
to have reciprocated all their kindness ; some years af- 
terward, being consulted concerning a projected marriage 
with Mr. Edward Russell, she writes, " I can pronounce 
it the easiest family to converse or live with that I have 
ever known, or could observe." 

LETTER FROM THE EARL OF BEDFORD TO 
LADY RUSSELL. 

Woburn, this 1th Jvly, 1684. 

" Dearest ^Daughter, — There is nothing in this 
world can come so welcome to me, as to hear of increase 
of hopes ; that God Almighty will be so infinitely good 
and gracious unto me, as to give unto my fervent prayers 
that dear child, which if it be his good will and pleasure 
to grant to so unworthy a creature as I am, I shall look 
upon it all the days of my life as the greatest temporal 
blessing can be bestowed upon me, and that will supply 
and make up in a great measure the other great afflictions 
and crosses he has been pleased to lay upon me. Dear 
daughter, I look upon it as a good sign the holding up 
of his head, that the humor is gone, which I believe was 
the cause of the hanging down of his head. I pray Christ 
Jesus to give us such a blessing unto the means, that I 
may have every day more and more hopes of seeing that 
day of rejoicing, in enjoying your company and his here 
again, which is the constant and fervent prayer of my 
soul unto my gracious God. * * » 

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62 BIOGRAPHY OP 

So hoping to hear of some comfortable tidings by the 
bearer of that dear little one, being full of prayers and 
fears for him and you, I rest with all the kindness in the 
world, which I am sure I shall do to my last breath, 
Your most affectionate Father 

and Friend to cpmmand, 

Bedford. 

" My dear love and blessing to my dear boy and Mrs. 
Rachel. I am much cheered with Mrs. Katarine's com- 
pany ; she is often with me, and looks very well." 

LADY RUSSELL TO DR. FITZWJLLIAM. 

Totteridge, Avgust 3, 1684- 

" The last letter I writ to you, good Doctor, was upon 
the 21st July ;* and I find yours dated the 25th ; so I 
conclude you had not read mine. If you have not, yours 
is the kinder, since I find you had entertained a memory 
of that return of time my sufferings in this sad and dis- 
mal year began ; and which indeed I could not pass but 
with some more than usual solemnity ; yet I hope I took 
the best arts I could to convert my anguish into advan- 
tages, and force away from my thoughts those terrible 
representations they would raise (at such times especially) 
upon me ; but I was so large in my discourse then, that 
it being possible it may have lighted into your hands be- 
fore this does, I will not be ever repeating either my own 
sad story, or my own weak behaviour under it ; but rather 
speak to the question you would be answered in, when 
1 design for Stratton or whether not at all ? Truly, I 
cannot tell you which : since I move but as I am convin- 
ced is best in reference to my boy, at present, with the 
care of his sister, the only worldly business in this perish- 
ing world. You hear why I come hither, and soon will 
know I wanted the auxiliaries you took care to send me : 
sure I did so : but it hath pleased the Author of all mer- 

• Lord Russell was arrested June 26th, tried July 13th, and be- 
headed July 2l8t, 1683. 
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LADY RUSSELL. 63 

cies to give me some glimpse and ray of his compassions 
in this dark day of my calamity, the child being exceed- 
ingly better ; and I trust no secret murmur or discontent 
at what I have felt, and must still do, shall provoke my 
God to repeat those threatenings of making yet more bit- 
ter that cup I have drank so deeply out of ; but as a quiet 
submission is required under all the various methods of 
Divine Providence, I trust I shall be so supported, that 
though unfit thoughts may haunt me, they shall not break 
in importunately upon me ; nor will I break off that ban- 
dage time will lay over my wound. To them that seek 
the Lord, his mercies are renewed every morning : with 
all my strength to him I will seek ; and though he kill 
me I will trust in him ; my hopes are not of this world : 
I can never more recover pleasure here ; but more dur- 
able joys I shall obtain, if I persevere to the end of a short 
life." * ♦ * * * 

* « « 4^ * 

A project of going to Stratton in September was again 
put off by the proposed removal of the Court to Win- 
chester, where Charles occasionally resided in autumn, 
for the convenience of field-sports. The near neighbour- 
hood of Stratton would have made a residence there, at 
such a time, peculiarly unpleasant to the widowed Lady 
Russell. In September she returned to Woburn -Abbey ; 
and soon after, she writes to Dr. Fitzwilliam — " I have 
resolved to try that desolate habitation of mine at London 
this winter. The doctor agrees it is the best place for 
my boy, and I have no argument to balance that, nor 
could I take the resolution to see London till that was 
urged ^ but, by God's permission, I will see how I can 
endure that place, in thought a place of terror to me ; but 
I know if sorrow had .not another root, that will vanish in 
a few days. As soon as I had formed, or rather submitted 
to this advice, I hastened hither upon it, that Lord Bed- 
ford might have some weeks' comfort in the child before 
I took him from him." 

In November, she again writes to Dr. Fitzwilliam, 
from Woburn- Abbey : — " I have, you find, Sir, lingered 
out my time ; and I think none will wonder at it, that 

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64 BIOGRAPHY OP 

Will reflect the place I am going to remove to, was the 
scene of so much lasting sorrow to me, and where I acted 
so unsuccessful a part for the preservation of a life I 
could have laid down mine to have continued. 'Twas, 
Doctor, an inestimable treasure I did lose, and with 
whom I had lived in the highest pitch of this world's fe- 
licity. But having so many months mourned the sub- 
stance, I think (by God's assistance) the shadow will not 
sink me." 

The death of Charles — ^the accession of the Duke of 
York, under the title of James the Second — ^the new re- 
bellion of Monmouth, his failure and final execution — 
were events that must have been painfully interesting to 
Lady Russell, whose susceptible heart had, from time to 
time, been wounded by the execution of her husband's 
friends, and the fines levied upon all who attempted to 
justify his memory. She thus writes to Dr. Fitzwilliam : — 

Southampton" House^ July 17, 1685. 

* * * " Never could you 

have more seasonably fed me with such discourses, than 
in these my miserable months, and in those this very 
week in which I have lived over a^ain that fatal day that 
determined what fell out a week after, and that has given 
me so long and so bitter a time of sorrow. But God has 
a compass in his providences that is out of our reach ; 
and as he is all good and wise, that consideration should 
in reason slacken the fierce rages of grief. But sure, 
Doctor, 'tis the nature of sorrow to lay hold on all things 
which give a new ferment to it, — ^then how could I choose 
but feel it in a time of so much confusion as these last 
weeks have been, closing so tragically as they have 
done ?* and sure never any poor creature, for two whole 
years together, has had more awakers to quicken and re- 
vive the anguish of its soul than I have had ; yet I hope 
I do most truly desire that nothing may be so bitter to 
me, as to think I have in the least oflfended thee, O my 

* She probably alludes to the execution of the Duke of Monmouth. 
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LADY RUSSBLL. 65 

God! and that nothing may be so marvellous in my 
eyes as the exceeding love of my Lord Jesus: that 
heaven being my aim, and the longing expectation of my 
sojul, I may go through honour and dishonour, good re- 
port and bad report, prosperity and adversity, with some 
evenness of mind. The inspiring me with these desires 
is, I hope, a token of his never- faiUng love towards me, 
though an unthankful creature, for all the good things I 
have enjoyed, and do still enjoy, in the lives of hopeful 
children by so beloved a husband. My niece's complaint 
is a neglected cold — I hope youth will struggle and over- 
come : they are the children of one whose least concerns 
touch me to the quick,* — their mother was a delicious 
friend. Sure nobody has enjoyed more pleasure in the 
conversations and tender kindnesses of a husband and a 
sister than myself; yet how apt am I to be fretful that I 
must not still do so ! But I must follow that which 
seems to be the will of God, how unacceptable soever it 
may be to me." * * * 

I 

^ The following reflections, which she makes upon Mon- 

^i mouth's insurrection, no doubt give a faithful view of her 

J" husband's character, and of the circumstances in which he 

,i was involved : — " I take this late wild attempt to be a 

.^. new project, not depending on, or linked in the least to, 

'•' any former design ; if there was any real one, which I 

V am satisfied was not, no more than (my own Lord con- 

' ; fessed) talk, and it is possible that talk going so far as to 

consider if a remedy to supposed evils might be sought, 

how it could be found. But as I was saying, if all this 

late attempt was entirely new, yet the suspicion my Lord 

u must have lain under would have been great ; and some 

circumstances, I do confess, must have made his part a 

7\ hard one. So that from deceitfulness of the heart, or 

^ want of true sight in the directive faculty, what would 

^, have followed, God only knows. From the frailty of the 

" will I should have feared but little evil ; for he had so 

^^^ just a soul, so firm, so good, he could not warp from such 



inoB^ 



* Of her sister, the Lady Elizabeth Noel. 

VOL. III. NO. XXI. U D,gi,,zedb,V.UU^e 



66 BIOGBAPHY OF 

principles that were so, unless misguided by his under- 
standing, and that his own, not another's ; for I dare say, 
as he could discern, he never went into any thing consi- 
derable upon the mere submission to any one's particular 
judgment. Now his own, I know, he could never have 
framed to have thought well of the late actings, and 
therefore most probably must have set loose from them. 
But I am afraid his excellent heart, had he lived, would 
have been often pierced, from the time his life was taken 
away to this. On the other hand, having, I trust, a rea- 
sonable ground of hope he has found those mercies, that 
he died with a cheerful persuasion he should, there is no 
reason to mourn my loss, when that soul I loved so well 
lives in felicities, and shall do so to all eternity." 

The rapid strides of James the Second toward the sub- 
version of the religion and constitution of England were 
not unmarked by Lady Russell. Her letters show that 
she took a strong interest in the political news of the day, 
though always with a reference to him whose memory she 
faithfully treasured in her heart. Speaking of the depraved 
times, she says-^" The new scenes of each day make me 
often conclude myself very void of temper and reason, 
that I still shed tears of sorrow and not of joy, that so 
good a man is safe landed on the happy shore of a blessed 
eternity. Doubtless he is at rest, though I find none 
without him, so true a partner he was in all my joys and 
griefs. I trust the Almighty will pass by this my infir- 
mity. I speak it in respect to the world, from whose en- 
ticing delights I can now be better weaned. I was too 
rich in possessions while I possessed him. All relish now 
is gone. « * * » 

I endeavour to suppress all wild imaginations a melan- 
choly fancy is apt to let in, and say, with the man in the 
gospel, * I believe, help thou mine unbelief.' " 

Lady Russell was detained in London much longer 
than she intended or wished. Her uncle, M. de Rou- 
vigny, had come from France to solicit James the Second 
for the removal of the attainder of Lord Russell from his 
children. He brought with him his wife and niece ; and 
the young lady was unfortunately seized with the small- 
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LADY RUSSELL. 67 

pox and died. Lady Russell, at the earnest entreaties of 
her uncle, immediately conveyed her children to their 
grandfather's, at Bedford-House in the Strand, and after- 
ward saw the little trihe safely lodged in Woburn- Abhey. 
She writes to Dr. Fitzwilliam : — " I returned myself to 
Bedford- House, to take my last leave (for so I take it to 
be) of as kind a relation, and as zealous, tender a friend 
as ever any body had.* To my uncle and aunt their 
niece was an inexpressible loss, but to herself death was 
the contrary. She died (as most do) as she had lived-^ 
a pattern to all who knew her. As her body grew weak, 
her faith and hope grew strong, comforting her com- 
forters, and edifj'ing all about her, — ever magnifjring the 
goodness of God, that she died in a country where she 
could in peace give up her soul to him that made it.f 
What a glorious thing, Doctor, it is to live and die as 
sure as she did ! I heard my uncle and aunt say, that in 
seven years she had been with them, they never could 
tax her with a failure in her piety or her prudence ; yet 
she had been roughly attacked, as the French Gazettes 
will tell you." 

Among the MSS. at Woburn- Abbey are preserved 
copies, in Lady Russell's handwriting, of two letters from 
the Marquis de Rouvigny to the King, and notes of se- 
veral conversations with his ministers, Hyde and Godol- 
phin, upon the subject of removing the attainder from 
Lord Russell's children. This was promised from time 
to time, with the insincerity that characterized the court. 
Among these papers is one indorsed by Lady Russell, — 

" Some discourses upon a visit from the Lord Trea- 
surer [Hyde] to me. 

" The Lord Treasurer told me that my uncle had 
seemed to have set the effecting it much on his heart, 
and with the greatest kindness to me imaginable. I told 
my Lord I believed it, and indeed the friendship was so 

* The Marquis de Rouvigny. 

t The HugoQots were then cruelly persecuted in France. 

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68 BIOGKAPHY OF 

surpnsingy his Lordship knew veiy well the world inr- 
puted his coming to England to some other cause, or at 
least thought he had been earnestly invited to it : for the 
last, I positively affirmed he had not been ; but as to the 
first, it was too deep for me to judge of. * * 

At the same time, I am sure nothing can be doney^r me 
now, that can diminish, or to me, tlmt can augment what 
I feel. * * * I do assure 

your Lordship I have much more care to make my 
children worthy to be great, than to see them so. I will 
do what I can they may deserve to be so, and then quietly 
wait what will follow. That I am very solicitous, I con* 
fess, to do my duty in such a manner to the children of 
one I owe as much as can be due to man, that if my son 
lives, he may not justly say hereafter, that if he had had 
a mother less ignorant, or less negligent, he had not then 
been compelled to seek for what, perhaps, he may then 
have a mind to have.'' 

After her uncle's return to France, she rejoined her 
children at Woburn- Abbey. The last of November 
1685, she writes — " I believe it may be near Christmas 
before my Lord Bedford removes for the winter, but I 
have not yet discoursed with him about it, nor how long 
he desires our company ; so whether I will come before 
him, or make one company, I know not ; — he shall please 
himself, for I have no will in these matters, nor can like 
one thing or way better than another, if the use and con- 
veniences be alike to the young creatures, whose service 
is all the business I have in this world, axiA for their good 
I intend all diligence in the power of your obliged servant, 

" R. Russell." 

In January 1686, Lord Delamere was tried for par- 
taking in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, and was 
acquitted. This circumstance painfully reminded Lady 
Russell of her husband's harder fate. Speaking of this 
event, she says — " I do bless God that he has caused 
some stop to the effusion of blood has been shed of late 
in this poor land. But as diseased bodies turn the best 

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IJkDY RUSSELL, 69 

nourishments, and even cordials into the same sour hu- 
mour that consumes and eats them up, just so do I. 
When I should rejoice with them that do rejoice, I seek 
a comer to weep in. I find I am capable of no more 
gladness ; but every new circumstance, the very compar- 
ing my night of sorrow after such a day, with theirs of 
joy, does, from a reflection of one kind or other, rack 
my uneasy mind. Though I am far from wishing the 
close of theirs like mine, yet I cannot refrain giving some 
time to lament mine was not like theirs ; but I certainly 
took too much delight in my lot, and would too willingly 
have built my tabernacle here: for which I hope my 
punishment will end with life." 

The revocation of the edict of Nantes, by Louis the 
Fourteenth, and thft cruelties exercised against the Pro- 
testants, produced a great sensation in England, and 
tended to hasten the downfal of James the Second. 
Lady Russell, speaking of Louis, says — " I cannot choose 
but think myself less miserable than this poor king ; so 
truly miserable, by debasing, as he does, the dignity of 
human nature. ' Ne«ir two millions of souls made of the 
same clay as himself, have felt the rigours of that savage 
man. It is enough -to sink the strongest heart to read 
the relations are sent over. How the children are torn 
from their mothers, and sent into monasteries, — ^their 
mothers to another. The husband to prison or the 
galley. These are amazing providences ! God out of in- 
finite mercy strengthen weak believers !** 

In these troublesome times, the Marquis de Rouvigny, 
as an especial favour, obtained from Louis the Fourteenth, 
permission to remove with his family to England, where 
he died. His son entered the service of William and 
Mary, though he forfeited his French estates by it ; — ^he 
was by them created Earl of GalWay. Mr. Evelyn, in 
his Diary, mentions that he assisted at a French sermon, 
an Greenwich church, to a congregation of above a 
hundred French refugees, of which M. de Rouvigny was 
the chief, and for whom he had obtained the use of the 
parish church, after the English service was over. 

The mother of Lady Russell was a Hugonot; and 

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70 BIOGRAPHY OF 

with other ▼irtuous and noble. principles instilled by her 
father, she received from him sentiments of great tolera- 
tion with regard to religion. . Clarendon thinks it. neces- 
sary to make a slight apology for the Earl of Southamp- 
ton's liberality in this respect. He says, *^ He was a man 
of exemplary virtue and piety, and very regular in his 
devotions ; yet he was not generally believed by the 
bishops to have an affection keen enough for the govern- 
ment of the church, because he was willing and desirous 
that something more might have been done to gratify 
the Presbyterians than they thought just " 

His daughter evinced the same kind regard for the re- 
ligious opinions and feelings of others. In writing to 
Dr. Fitzwilliam to procure a chaplain for her family, she 
says, " I approve the Church of England — the best 
church) and the best offices and services in it upon the 
face of the earth that we know of. But I covet one so 
moderate, as not to be impatient and passionate against 
all that cannot think as he does. I would have him of 
such a temper as to be able to converse peaceably and 
without giving offence to such as havfe the freedom of my 
family, though these are not of our church. — I take it to 
be the best way of raining good people to our opinions." 

Lady Russell, with her usual good sense and kind feel- 
ing, resolved to employ one of the refugees to instruct 
her son, then nearly six years old, in the French laa- 
guage. She says, " Here are many scholars come over, 
as are of all kinds, God knows. By taking a French- 
man I shall do a charity, and profit the child also.** The 
dealing grandfather objected to the plan, lest the boy*& 
health should be injured by study ; but Lady Russell, 
though a very devoted mother, was not a weakly indul- 
gent one ; and she overcame Lord Bedford's scruples by 
the assurance that the child should not be urged beyond 
his strength. Through his whole life she watched over 
the education and character of her son with the most 
scrupulous attention^ — alike regardless of her own anxie- 
ties, and her own indulgence. 

Acting under the influence of the same blessed spirit, 
which never allowed her to be selfish^ in joy or in sor- 

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LADY RUSSELL. 71 

row, we find her, in case of sickness in Lady Montague's* 
family, taking charge of her children. She says, " My 
own sad trials making me know how mean a comforter I 
can be, I think my best service is to take care of her two 
children, who are both well now, and I hope God will be 
pleased to keep them so." 

When her advice and assistance was asked concerning 
making a proposal of marriage to one of her sister's 
{Lady Noel) daughters, she writes — " I have done it, 
though I wish choice had been made of any other person 
than myself, who, desiring to know the world no more, 
am utterly unfit for the management of any thing in it ; 
but must, as I can, engage in such necessary offices to 
my children as I cannot be dispensed from, nor desire 
to be, since it is an eternal obligation upon me to the 
memory of a husband, to whom and to his I have dedi- 
cated the few and sad remainder of my days." 

Time seems to have wrought but little change in her 
deep, unostentatious sorrow. In July 1686, she thus 
writes : " On Tuesday my sister Allington designs to be 
here : I am sorry it happens to be just on that day, since 
I affect nothing that is particular or singular ; but as yet 
I have not seen any body besides my children on that 
day — ^being the 1 3th of July — nor does it seem decent 
for me to do it, almost- when I remember the sad scene 
I saw and attended at all that day, and the miserable ac- 
cidents of it, as the unfortunate end of Lord Essex, to 
me so fatal, if the Duchess of Portsmouth told me true, 
that they said the jury could not have condemned my 
Lord, if my Lord Essex had not died as he did. ' But I 
will do as I can : I hope she will not misconstruct what 
I shall do. I am sure I will never fail to her, (by God's 
grace,) because I know how tenderly he loved her, though 
I am apt to think now she returned it not in love to a 
degree I once thought she had for him, and that sure he 
merited from her. But we are not always loved most 
by those we love best." A few days after, she writes — 
** It is the 21st completes my three years of true sorrow, 

* Formerly Lady Percy. 

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il BIOGRAPHY OF 

which should be turned rather into joy ; as you have lakl 
it before me with reasons strongly maintained and rarely 
illustrated. Sure he is one of those has gained by a dis- 
mission from longer attendance here : while he lived his 
being pleased made me so too, and so it should du still, and 
then my soul should be full of joy. I should be easy and 
cheerful, but it is sad and heavy ; so little we distinguish 
how and why we love — ^to me it argues a prodigious 
fondness of one's self. * » . » This 

comfort I think I have in my afflictions, that I can say, 
* Unless thy law had been my delight, I should have 
perished in my troul?le.' The rising from" the dead is a 
elorious contemplation ! nothing raises a drooping spirit 
like it." 

In June 1687, Lady Russell made her long-intended 
visit to Stratton. She describes herself as " indeed brim- 
ful with the memory of that unfortunate and miserable 
change in my own condition, since I lived regularly here 
before. The poor children are well pleased to be a little 
while in a new place, ignorant how much better it has 
been both to me and them ; yet I thought I found 
Rachel not insensible, and I could not but be content 
with it in my own mind. Those whose age can aflPord 
them any remembrance, should, methinks, have some so- 
lemn thoughts for so irreparable a loss to themselves and 
family, though after that I would cherish a cheerful tem- 
per in them with all the industry I can ; for sure we 
please our Maker best, when we take all his providences 
with a cheerful spirit." 

On the 25th of June, she writes to Dr. Fi^zwilliam : — 
" Seasonably enough your letter comes to me, this being 
the eve of the sad day that ushered in the great calamity 
of my life. The same day my dear Lord was carried 
from his house, I entertained the sad assurance of quickly 
after losing the sight of him for ever in this world ; what 
the manner of it will be in the next is dark and unknown 
to us — ^it is enough that we shall be happy eternally. My 
house is full of company: to-naorrow being Sunday, I 
propose to sanctify it, if my griefs unhallow it not by un- 
justifiable passions ; but having given some hours to pri- 
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LADY RUSSELL. 73 

vacy in the morning, live in my house as on other days, 
doing my best to be tolerably composed. It is my first 
trial ; for all these sad years past I have dispensed with 
the seeing any body, or till late at night, — sometimes 1 
could not avoid that, without a singularity I do not affect. 
There are three days I like best to give up to reflection 
— ^the day my Lord was parted from his family — that of 
his trial — and the day he was released from all the evils 
of this perishing world." 

On the mournful 21 at of July, the same year, she again 
writes to Dr. Fitzwilliam : — " I must observe to you how 
kindly Providence. (I will imitate yoii, and not call it 
chance) disposes of your letters to my hands. I read 
yours of July llth, on the 20th, the eve of that day — I 
will not suffer my hand to write fatal, because the blow 
struck on it was that which gave eternal rest to my be- 
loved friend. I do not contend on these days with frail 
nature, but keep her as innocent as I can. What you 
stated to me is just: I had made him my idol, though I 
did not know it — loved man too much, and God too 
little ; yet my constant prayer was not to do so, but not 
enough fervent I doubt. I will turn the object of my 
love all I can upon his loved children ; and if I may be 
directed and blessed in their education, what is it I have 
to ask in relation to this perishing world for myself ? It 
is joy and peace in believing that I covet, having nothing 
to fear but sin.*' 

In this year, Lord Cavendish (now Earl of Devonshire) 
the generous and active friend of Lord Russell, proposed 
a union of the families by the marriage of his son with 
Lady RusselFs eldest daughter. As the parties were 
very young, and large estates were to be settled on both 
sides, the arrangements cost the parents some trouble. 
Lady Russell writes, " I am in a great and constant hur- 
ry, frorn my careful endeavours to do my duty to my 
child, and to my friend, sister Margaret Russell,* which, 
by God's grace, I intend to do as cordially as to my child- 

* Lord Strafford had proposed for her ; the marriage did not take 
place. 

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74 BIOGRAPHY OP 

ren. I meet with many difficulties in both ; yet in my 
girl's there is no stop but such as the former settlements 
caused, which will hinder a conclusion till he is sixteen. 
I trust if I perfect this great work, my careful endeavours 
will prosper ; only the Almighty knows what the event 
shall be ; but sure it is a glimmering of light I did not 
look for in my dark day. I do often repeat in my thoughts, 
the children of the just shall be blessed : I am persuaded 
their father was such ; and if my heart deceive me not, 
I intend the being so, and humbly bless God for it." 

In another letter, speaking of the occupation given her 
by her daughter's proposed marriage, she says, " I would 
fain be delivered from them,, conclude my affairs, and so 
put some period to that inroad methinks I make in my 
intended manner of living upon earth. But I hope my 
duty will always prevail over the strongest inclination I 
have. I believe to assist my yet helpless children is my 
business, which makes me take many dinners abroad, and 
do of that nature many things, the performance of which 
is hard enough to a heavy and weary mind, but yet I 
bless God for it." 

The arrangements were at last satisfactorily completed. 
In 1688, the " little Fubs," mentioned in Lady Russell's 
charming love-letters, became Lady Cavendish, afterward 
Duchess of Devonshire. By a melancholy coincidence, 
the marriage took place on the 21st of June, a circum- 
stance which Lady Russell would gladly have avoided, 
had she ever in her whole life allowed herself to be selfish ; 
but the Lord Devonshire, having other engagements, was 
in haste, and she raised no objections. After this wed- 
ding she writes, " As early as my mournful heart can, 
I will pass over those sad days, which at the return of the 
year will, let me struggle all I can, set more lively than 
at other times, sad objects before my sight : but the re- 
viving hope of that immortal life my dear friend is already 
possessed of, is my best support. This very solemnity 
has afforded me, alas ! many a thought I was forced to 
check with all ray force, making me too tender ; though 
in retirement they are pleasant: and that way I can in- 
dulge myself in at present. Sure, if departed souls know 
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LADY RUSSELL. 75. 

what we do, he approves of what I have done, and it is a 
reward upon his children for his patience, and so entire 
submission during his sufferings. * * 

There is a sort of secret delight in the privacy of one of 
thbse mournful days ; I think, besides a better reason, 
one is, that I do not tie myself up as I do on other days : 
for God knows my eyes are ever ready to pour out marks 
of a sorrowful heart, which I shall carry to the grave, that 
quiet bed of rest. * * * 

That I have not sunk under the pressure, has been I 
hope in mercy, that I might be better fitted for my eter- 
nal state ; and form the children of a loved husband, be- 
fore I go hence. With these thoughts I can be hugely 
content to live ; though God only knows how I may ac- 
quit myself, and what help I may be to my young crea- 
tures ; I mean well toward them, if I know my heart." 
In August the young bridegroom went abroad upon his 
travels, and Lady Cavendish remained with her mother. 
Dr. Tillotson had at first feared an abatement in Lady 
Russell's esteem, on account of the unworthy concessions 
he had advised her husband to make; but his first interview 
after Lord Russeirs death occasioned a perfect renewal 
of friendship, and he continued to correspond with her 
duri ng h er life. In a letter on th e subj ect of her daughter's 
marriage, he says, " I pray God to preserve my Lord 
Cavendish in his travels from the hazards of all kinds to 
which he is likely to be exposed, and to return him to 
you and to his excellent lady, greatly improved in all true, 
noble, and virtuous qualities. My mind doth presage 
much happiness to you in him ; I earnestly wish it." 

The " hazards" to which Dr. Tillotson alludes, were, 
in part, political. There is a spirit in the English people, 
which will not long endure any gross violation of their li- 
berties. William, Prince of Orange, was urged to come 
over to free the kingdom from the bigotry and intolerance 
of his father-in-law. James was as cowardly in adversity 
as he had been insolent in power. Notwithstanding the 
untiring malice with which he had persecuted Lord Russell, 
he dared to apply to the Earl of Bedford for assistance. 
The afflicted monarch is said to have addressed him thus : 

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76 BIOGRAPHY OP 

** My Lord, you are an honest man, have great credit, 
and can do me signal service." The aged Earl replied, 
" Ah, sir, I am old and feeble ; I can do you but little 
service ; I once had a son,, that could have assisted you ; 
but he is no more." James was so much struck with 
this reply, that he could not speak for some minutes. 

When Dykevelt, Minister Plenipotentiary from the 
States of Holland, arrived in England, he was sent, by^ 
the express order of the Prince and Princess of Orange, 
to Lady Russell, to condole with her on her loss, and 
assure her of the lively interest they took in it, both as 
having a great and just regard for the two families to 
which she belonged, and as considering her lord's death 
a great blow to the Protestant religion ; assuring her at 
the same time, there was nothing in their power, they 
were not ready to do, either for herself or her son. The 
ambassador declared that he did not deliver this message 
in his private capacity ; but that he was charged with it 
as a public minister. The Princess of Orange, in a let- 
ter to Lady Russell, says, " If you knew the esteem I 
have for you, you would be persuaded your letters could 
not be too troublesome ; and since you will make me be- 
lieve it is some satisfaction to you, I shall desire you to con- 
tinue, for I assure you I am extreme glad to contribute 
any way to that. I hope this match of your daughter's will 
afford you all the joy and comfort you can desire. I do 
not question but you have made a verj*^ good choice ; and 
since I wish so well to liiy Lord Devonshire, I cannot 
but be glad it is his son, believing you will have taught 
your daughter, after your own example, to be so good a 
wife, that Lord Cavendish cannot choose but be very 
happy with her. I assure you I wish it with all my heart, 
and if that could contribute anything to your content, 
you may be sure of as much as it is possible for you to 
have ; and not only my wishes, but upon all occasions I 
shall be glad to show more than by words, the esteem I 
have for you. 

« Marie." 

Hague, Fehruai-y 13, 1688. 

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LADY RUSSELL. 77 

Two whole months elapsed between the landing of the 
Prince of Orange and the final departure of King James 
— a period of great difficulty and danger to those actively 
concerned in politics. Lady Russell evidently watched 
with anxiety for thte clearing away of the storm ; but her 
letters are extremely guarded in their expressions. She 
removed with Lord Bedford from Woburn to London, 
in season to witness the peaceable settlement of the new 
government. She thus speaks of this important event : 
— " Those who have lived longest, and therefore seen the 
most change, can scarce believe it more than a dream ; 
yet it is real, and so amazing a reality of mercy, as ought 
to melt our hearts into subjection and resignation to Him, 
vtrho is the dispenser of all providences.** 

The young Lady Cavendish was present with her 
mother-in-law, the Countess of Devonshire, at the pro- 
clamation of William and Mary, and accompanied her to 
their first drawing-room in the evening of the same day. 
The following extracts are taken from a letter in which 
she describes the scene : — " My Lord Halifax made the 
Prince and Princess a short speech, desiring them in the 
name of all the Lords to accept of the crown. The 
Prince answered him in a few words, and the Princess 
made curtsies. They say, when they named her father's 
faults, she looked down as if she was troubled. The 
Speaker of the House of Commons showed the Prince 
what they had agreed of, but made no speech. After 
this ceremony was ended, they* proclaimed them King 
and Queen of England. I was at the sight, and, you may 
imagine, very much pleased to see them proclaimed in 
the room of King James, my father's murderer. There 
was wonderful acclamations of joy, which, though they 
were very pleasing to me, yet they frightened me too ; 
for I could not but think what a dreadful thing it is to 
fall into the hands of the rabble — ^they are such a strange 
sort of people. At night I went to Court with my Lady 
Devonshire, and kissed the Queen's hand and the King's 
also. Th'ere was a world of bonfires and candles almost 
in every house, which looked extremely pretty. The 
King applies himself mightily to business, and is wonder- 

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78 BIOGRAPHY OP 

fully admired for his great wisdom and prudence in or- 
dering all things. He is a man of no presence, but looks 
very homely at first sight ; but if one looks long on him, 
he has something in his face both wise and good. But 
as for the Queen, she is really altogether very handsome ; 
her face is very agreeable, and her shape and motions ex- 
tremely graceful and fine. Her room was mighty full of 
company, as you may guess.** 

One of the first acts of William and Marj was the re- 
versal of Lord Russell's attainder. In the preamble to 
thfe bill his execution is declared a murd&i\ In 1689» 
the House of Commons appointed a committee to examine 
who were the advisers and promoters of Lord Russell's 
murder. These proceedings awakened the inconsolable 
widow to a thousand painful recollections, and no doubt 
gave rise to bitter regret that he could no longer be be- 
nefited by the royal predilections in his favour. 

Her half sister Lady Montague, thus writes to her : 
" I am very sorry, my dear sister, to find by yours that 
your thoughts have been so much disturbed with what I 
thought ought to have some contrary effect. It* is very 
true, what is once taken from us, in that nature, can never 
be returned ; all that remains of comfort (according to 
mi/ temp'er) is a bringing to punishment those who were 
so wickedly and unjustly the cause of it. I confess it was 
a great satisfaction to me to hear that was the public care ; 
it being so much to the honour, as well as what was in jus- 
tice due to your dead lo?d, that I do not doubt, when your 
sad thoughts will give you leave to recollect, you will find 
comfort. I heartily pray God you may, and that you 
may never have the addition of any other loss.** 

Could worldly distinctions have effaced her sorrow, 
Lady Russell would have grieved no longer. Honours 
were showered upon the families of Bedford and Devon- 
shire ; and her own individual character obtained a de- 
gree of respect and consideration rarely bestowed upon 
woman. Dr. Tillotson applied to her for advice concern- 
ing his acceptance of the Archbishopric of Canterbury, 
which had been offered him by King William. Dr. Fitz- 
william likewise consulted with her concerning his con- 

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LADY RUSSELL. 79 

scientious resignation of preferment under the new go- 
vernment ; and the following lettfer, from the Duchess of 
Marlborough, shows how much deference was paid to her 
opinion : " Regard for the public welfare carried me to 
advise the Princess to acquiesce in giving King William 
the crown. However, as I was fearful about everything 
the princess did, while she was thought to be advised bj' 
me, I could not satisfy my own mind till I had consulted 
with several persons of undisputed wisdom and integrity, 
and particularly with the Lady llussell of Southampton 
House and Dr. Tillotson, (afterwards Archbishop of Can- 
terbury). I found them all unanimous in the expediency 
of the settlement proposed." 

The high opinion the new sovereigns were known to 
entertain of Lady Russell, produced numerous applications 
for her patronage and interest. She made very moder- 
ate use of this power, as might have been expected from 
her delicate mind. Addressing Queen Mary in favour 
of one of Lord Carberry's family, she says, " It is a sen- 
sible trouble to me when I do importune your Majesty, 
yet I do sometimes submit, because I would not be quite 
useless to such as hope for some benefit by my means, 
and I desire to do what good I can." 

For those who had loved the character, or vindicated 
the memory of her deceased husband, she exerted her- 
self with the utmost earnestness and perseverance. 

The following among several letters from the Queen, 
proves how kindly her requests Vere received. 

" I am sorry my Lady Russell knows me so little, or 
judges so wrong of the kindness I have for her, to think 
she needs make an excuse for writing to me. I shall ne- 
ver think it a trouble to hear from you, and should be 
very glad to do what you desire ; but as I was wholly un- 
acquainted with the place, and believe there is no great 
haste in the filling it, so I left all who spoke to me liberty 
to write for themselves ; so that the King may have dis- 
posed of it before I can let him know your desire ; I am 
persuaded he will be as willing to please you in it as I 
am myself. You are very much in the right to believe 
I have cause enough to think this life not so fine a thing 



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80 BIOGRAPHY OF 

as many others do ; that I lead at present (beside the 
pain I am continually in for the king) it is so contrary to 
my own inclination, that it can be neither easy nor plea- 
sant : but I see one is not ever to live for one's self ! I 
have had many years of ease and content, and was not so 
sensible of my own happiness as I ought, till I lost it ; but 
I must be content with what it pleases God ; and this 
year I have reason to praise him hitherto for the successes 
in Ireland, the news which came so qfuick upon one an- 
other, that made me fear we have some ill to expect from 
other places. * * * 

The King continues, God be praised, very well ; and though 
I tremble at the thoughts of it, yet I cannot but wish a 
battle well over. 

" I have heard nothing all this while of your petition, 
which I am sorry for ; wishing for any occasion to show 
how really I am, and always shall be, 

Your very affectionate friend, 
Whitehall, July, 1691. ^* Marie R." 

Lady Russell had now frequent opportunities of reta- 
liating upon those who had persecuted her husband, or 
turned a deaf ear to her supplications in the days of her 
great distress. But her character, with all its strong 
powers of endurance, had the perfect mildness of a dove. 
Even in the first outpourings of her anguish, we find no 
mixture of bitterness toward her enemies. We even find 
her expressing a hope that God would bless King James, 
because he allowed a contribution to be taken for the 
French Protestants. And when Lady Sunderland, wife 
of the principal minister and adviser of Charles the Second, 
at the time of Lord Russell's execution, applied to his 
sorrowing widow for her good offices with the reigning 
powers, she answers in the kindest manner imaginable, say- 
ing, she " pitied her sorrows, and heartily wished her ease." 
An expression in one of her letters must have touched 
the feelings of Lady Sunderland ; she says, " So unhap- 
py a solicitor as I was once for my poor self and family, 
my heart misgives me when I aim at anything of that kind 
any more." 
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LADY RUSSELU 81 

She thus writes to Lord Halifazi when he was in afflic- 
tion, allading to her own misfortunes, and to his ineffec-' 
tual exertions to assist her at the most mournful period 
of her life : " For my part, I think the man a very in- 
di£ferent reasoner, that, to do well, he must take with indif- 
ference whatever happens to him. It is, very fine to 
say, < Why should we complain that is taken hack which 
was but lent to us, and lent us for a time, we know ; ' 
and so on. They are the receipts of philosophers I 
have no reverence for, as I have not for anything unna- 
tural. It is insincere, and I dare say they did dissemble, 
and felt what they would not own. I know I cannot dis- 
pute with Almighty power } but yet, if my delight is gone, 
I must needs be* sorry it is taken away, according to the 
niea«nre it made me glad. The Christian religion alone, 
b^eve me, my Lord, has the power to make the spirit 
easy under any great calamity. Nothing less than the 
hope of being again made happy, can satisfy the mind. 
I am sure I owe it more, than I could have done to the 
world, if all the glories of it had been offered me, or to 
be disposed of by me. And I do sincerely desire your 
Lordship may experience the truth of my opinion. If I 
could form a better wish for your Lordship, your\villing- 
ness to have made me less miserable than I am, if your 
power had been equal to your will, engages me to make 
it ; that alone would have bound me, though my own un- 
worthiness and ill-fortune had let you have forgot me 
ever after my sad lot. But since you would not. do so, 
it must for ever deserve particular acknowledgment from," 

In the midst of prosperity, we find Lady Russell re- 
curring with mournful tenderness to the treasure she had 
lost. In a letter to Dr. Fitzwilliam, July 21, 1689, she 
says, '^ It was an entire affection which was between us ; 
and no time I believe can waste my sorrow. All I de- 
sire is to make it innocent. For the late circumstances 
in my family, I would have assisted to my power for the 
procuring thereof^ but for any sensible joy at these out- 
ward things, I feel none : I think I should if I live to see 
him a worthy man." In 1690 she writes to Dr. Burnet, 

VOL. III. NO. XXI. X 293 

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82 KIOGRAPHY OF 

then Bishop of Salisbury, upon the occasion of the deatlr 
of her half-sister, Lady Montague, and of her nephew, the 
Earl of Gainsborough. She says, ^< The one was a just 
and sincere man, the only son of a sister and friend I 
loved with too much passion ; the other was my last sister, 
and I ever loved her tenderly. After above forty years' 
acquaintance with so amiable a creature, one must needs, 
in reflecting, bring to remembrance so many engaging 
endearments, as are at present embittering and painful ; 
and indeed we may be sure, that when any thing below 
God is the object of our love, at one time or another it 
w^l be the matter of our sorrow. But a little time will 
put me again into my settled state of mourning ; for a 
mourner I must be all my days upon earth, and there is 
no need I should be other. My glass runs low : the 
world does not want me, nor I want that ; my business is 
at home, and within a narrow compass. I must not deny, 
as there was something so glorious in the object of my 
biggest sorrow, I believe that in some measure kept me 
from being then overwhelmed. So now it affords me, 
together with the remembrance how many easy years we 
lived together, thoughts that are joy enough for me, who 
look no higher than a quiet submission to my lot, and such 
pleasures in educating the young folks as surmounts the 
cares that it will afford." 

Lady Russell's health had not sunk under her mental 
sufferings ; she gratefully acknowledges a freedom (rout 
bodily pain, «* to a degree I almost never knew ; not so 
much as a strong fit of headache have I felt since that 
miserable time, who used to be tormented with it very 
frequently." But she now began to feel the approaches 
of infirmity, particularly in a rapidly increasing weakness 
of sight. In 1 689 she complained a good deal of her dif- 
ficulty in seeing. It has been reported that she wept 
herself blind ; but this was not the case ; the disease in 
her eyes was a cataract, from which she obtained relief 
by couching, in 1694. When unable to read, she still 
continued to write. She seems to have endured the pro* 
spect of blindness with the same patient magnanimity, 
that had ever distinguished her ; expressing thanks to God 
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LADY RUSSELL. 83 

that be had so long enabled her to enjoy the blessing of 
eye-sight. She writes, " While I can see at all, I must 
do a little more than I can when God sees it best that 
outward darkness shall fall upon me, which will deprive 
me of all society at a distance, which I esteem exceeding 
profitable and pleasant." — Her letters to her son-in- 
law, Lord Cavendish, breathe her usual spirit of kind- 
ness, good-sense, and piety. In a letter directed to him 
at Brussels, she says, " Finding you are going farther 
from us, I must tell you how concernedly my prayers 
and best wishes attend you. Your return would be a 
time of more sensible content to me, and yet if I were 
to dispose of your person, what you are doing should be 
my choice for you ; for to live well in the world, it is 
for certain most necessary to know the world well. We 
are under the same protection in all places where we can 
be. It is very true, the circumstances of our beings do 
sometimes require our better diligence and watch over 
ourselves, than at other times ; and it is now going to be 
so with your Lordship : you are launching into the ocean ; 
if you steer wisely, you secure a calm for your whole 
life ; you will discern the vanity of all the pomps and 
glories of this world ; how little intrinsic good there is in 
the enjoyment ! and how uncertain it is how long we shall 
enjoy that good there is in them ! And by observation, 
you will be made sensible how much below the dignity of 
human nature it is to gain one's point, let the matter be 
what it will, by any mean, or insincere way. Having 
proved all, I hope you will choose the best, and take under 
your care the whole compass of virtue and religion." At 
another time she writes, ^' I had not been so long silent, 
if the death of two persons, * very near and dear to me, 
had not made me utterly unfit to converse where I would 
never be ill company. * * * 

The best improvement we can make in these cases, and 
you, my dear Lord, rather than I whose glass runs low, 
while you are young, and I hope have many ha^Dpy years 
to come, is that we should all reflect there is no passing 

* Lady Montague, and Lord Gainsborough. 

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84 BIOGRAPHY OF 

through this to a better world, without 8ome crosses ; and 
the scene sometimes shifts so fast, our course of life may 
be ended, before we think we have gone half way ; and 
that a happy eternity depends upon our spending well or ill 
that time allotted us here for probation. Live virtuously, 
my Lord, and you cannot die too soon, nor live too long." 

The return of Lord Cavendish from abroad, in 1691» 
separated her from her elder daughter^ During his ab- 
sence Lady Cavendish resided with her mother ; she was 
now estabUshed with her husband at the house of the 
Earl of Devonshire. Lady Russell, ever minutely care- 
ful in all that related to her children's welfare, wrote a 
letter to the Mistress of the Robes to Queen Mary,, re- 
commending the young Lady Cavendish to her particular 
attention and advice, adding, << She is unexperienced 
enough to want it, and never been till now from too fond 
a mother, I doubt." 

In 1692, the Earl of Rutland proposed a marriage be- 
tween his eldest son and Lord Russell's younger daughter. 
After allowing some time for the family to form an ac- 
quaintance with the young man, the marrit^e was conclud- 
ed in the summer of the following year. Thus " little 
Kate" became Lady Roos, afterward Duchess of Rut- 
land. The wedding festivities, when the bride and bride- 
groom arrived at their new home, are described by Sir 
James Forbes, in a letter to Lady Russell, as having 
been '< exceeding magnificent;" and he says, '^ Their 
journey to Bel voir looked more like the progress of a 
king and queen through their country, than that of a bride 
and bridegroom going home to their father's house." Lady 
Russell excused herself from going with all the wedding 
company to Belvoir, because too much exertion greatly in- 
creased the pain in her eyes ; but she soon followed the 
young couple thither. Dr. Burnet, in allusion to this mar- 
riage, says, '^ Your family is now the greatest in its three 
branches, that has been in England in our age." In an- 
swer to Dr. Fitzwilliam's congratulations. Lady Russell 
says, '^ I hope I have done my duty well to my daughters, 
and that they shall enjoy a lasting happiness ; but above 
all, my prayer is, that the end of their faith may be the 
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LADY RUSSELL. 85 

salvation of their souls : that they may be endued with 
such graces here, as may fit them for the glories of the 
state hereafter." 

In May, 1694, the Earls of Bedford and Devonshire 
were advanced to the dignity of Dukes ; Lord Bedford 
was likewise created Marquis of Tavistock. In the pre* 
amble to the patent, the following are some of the reasons 
given for, bestowing these high honours: " That this 
was not the least, that he was the father of Lord Russell, 
the ornament of his age, whose great merits it was 
enough to transmit by history to posterity, but they (the 
King and Queen) were willing to record them in their 
royal patent, to remain in the family as a monument con- 
secrated to his consummate virtue^ whose name would 
never be foi^ot so long as men preserved any esteem for 
sanctity of manners, greatness of mind, and a love of 
their country, constant even to death. Therefore, to 
solace his excellent father for so great a loss, to celebrate 
the memory of so noble a son, and to excite his worthy 
grandson, the heir of such mighty hopes, more cheerfully to 
emulate and follow the example of his illustrious father, they 
entailed this high dignity upon the Earl and his posterity." 

The following anecdote illustrates Lady Russell's self- 
possession and equanimity of temper. Even in our own 
days few would have been so calm under such circum- 
stances ; and we must remember that, a century and a 
half ago, people were abundantly more superstitious. 

'< As I was reading in my closet, the door being bolted, 
on a sudden the candle and candlestick jumped off the table, 
a hissing fire ran on the floor, and after a short time left 
some paper in a flame, which with my foot I put into the 
chimney to prevent mischief ; then sat down in the dark 
to consider whence this event could come. I knew my 
doors and windows were fast, and there was no way open 
into the closet but by the chimney ; and that somethmg 
should come down there, and strike my candle off the 
table in that strange manner, I believed impossible. After 
I had wearied myself with thinking to no purpose, I rang 
my bell ; the servant in waiting, when I told him what 
had happened, begged pardon JPor having by mistake given 

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86 BIOGRAPHY OF 

me a candle, with a gunpowder squib in it, which was 
intended to make sport among the fellow-servants on a 
rejoicing day." Her ladyship bid him not to be troubled at 
the matter, for she had no other concern about it, than 
that of not finding out the cause. 

While Lord Tavistock was as yet but thirteen years 
old, his mother received proposals from Sir Josiah Child, 
for marrying him to his grand-daughter, the Lady Hen- 
rietta Somerset, giving as a reason, " I desire so great a 
fortune as God's providence has cast upon her may fall 
into the best and most pious noble family I know, for such 
I esteem my Lord Bedford's tp be."* 

We are not informed why these proposals were not 
accepted. Two years afterward. Lady Russell contracted 
a marriage for her son with Miss Rowland, another grand- 
daughter of Sir Josiah Child, in whose character and 
education she seems to have taken as much interest a» 
she could have done in that of her own daughter. In a 
letter to the young lady's mother, speaking of some mas- 
ters who had attended her, she writes — " Though I con- 
fess fashion, and those other accomplishments that are 
perhaps over-rated by the world, and that I esteem but 
as dross, and as a shadow in comparison of religion and 
virtue, yet the perfections of nature are ornaments to 
the body, as grace is to the mind ; and I wish and do 
more than that, for I pray constantly she may be a per- 
fect creature, both in body and mind." The marriage 
had not taken place but a«few months, and the young 
Lord Tavistock >was still under the care of a private 
tutor, preparing for Oxford University, when, in October 
1695, Lady Russell was urged to consent that he should 
stand as member for Parliament ;^to make the proposal 
more flattering, permission was asked to drop the newly- 
acquired title of Marquis of Tavistock on the day of elec- 
tion, and present him to the county under the popular and 
beloved appellation of Lord Russell. The young noble- 
man was but fifteen years of age ; and his judicious mother 

* The Russell family hare always been the friends of freedom. 
The present Lord John Russell, the great advocate for Reform in the 
British Parliament, is a direct descendant of Lord William Russell. 

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LADY RUSSBLL. 87 

^ once decided that such a premature entry into public 
life would be likely to ruin his character and happiness. 

During Lord Tavistock's stay at the University, Lady 
Russell occasionally resided there, for the purpose of 
maintaining the entire and confidential friendship, which 
had ever existed between her and her son. At the age 
of seventeen, the young heir to so many honours and so 
much wealth was sent abroad to perfect his education. 
His aged grandfather parted from him with extreme re- 
luctance, though he seems to have entirely approved the 
arrangements made by Lady Russell ; — indeed, in the 
boy's infancy, she had said, << I shall always take my 
Lord Bedford along with me in every thing that concerns 
the child." 

Lord Tavistock's numerous letters to his mother are 
said to give a favourable opinion of the young man's de- 
sire to inform himself, and to profit by foreign society ; 
and, above all, of his affection, deference, and unlimited 
confidence in his mother. Her letters to him, while 
abroad, are not preserved. 

Lady Russell seems to have entertained some fears of 
his love for play, before he left England ; for in a letter 
from the Hague, he assures her she has no grounds, and 
never shall have, for such anxiety. But a young man so 
much flattered, and the heir of such a princely income, 
must have been more than human had he not been guilty 
of some of the follies incident to his age and situation. 
We accordingly find that he made expensive presents 
without the knowledge of his governor, and lost very 
considerable sums at play. In his difficulties he appeals 
directly to his mother's indulgence. He says, " If your 
Ladyship did but know a little part of the grief I suffer, 
I am sure you would forgive me ; and if I did not think 
you would, I could not bear it." After owning that he 
was living at great expense, he tells her — " But then it 
is certain that the honours I have received here (at 
Rome) are so very extraordinary, that the expense could 
not be less. It is undoubtedly much for the honour of 
the family : as for myself, I think I deserve nothing, 
flince I am capable of afflicting your Ladyship. * 
* * If you did but know m]^ fe?H?!) 



88 BfooBAPRY ar 

and half Uie trouble that I am in, I am certain yoor Lady- 
ship wonld grant what I desire. I will ret come home to 
be a comfort to your Ladyship, and make you easy ; and 
so follow, in some things, I hope at least, the steps of my 
good father.** 

Lady Russell did not, however, know of the amount of 
her son's losses at play till he returned to England in the 
year 1699* The sum was so considerable, as to oblige 
her to apply to the Earl of Bedford to assist her as a se- 
curity in raising the money. The considerate numner in 
which she addresses the old man, and speaks of the errors 
of the young, in her letter on this subject, is a sufficient 
reason for the affectionate confidence placed in her by 
both. 

In the year 1700 the Ear) of Bedford died, and Lord 
Tavistock succeeded to his title and estates. Her letter 
to her son a few years after this event, shows how clearly 
she perceived his true interests, and how much more she 
cared for his advancement in holiness, than for all the 
fleeting dignities of this transient life. 

LADY RUSSELL TO HBR SON THE DTTKE OF BEDFORD. 

Straitouy J'^y 1706. 
" When I take my pen to write this, I am, by the 
goodness and mercy of God, in a moderate and easy 
state of health — a blessing I have thankfully feh throng 
the course of a long life, which (with a much greater 
help) the contemplation of a more durable state has 
maintained and upheld me through varieties of provi- 
dences and conditions of fife. But all the delights and 
sorrows of this mixed state must end ; and T feel the de- 
cays that attend old s^e creep so fast upon me, that al- 
though I may yet get over some more years, however, I 
ought to make it my frequent meditation, that the day is 
near when this earthly tabernacle shall be dissolved, and 
my immortal spirit be received into that place of purity 
where no unclean thing can enter, there to sing eternal 
praises to the great Creator of all things. With the 
Psalmist, I believe, < at his right hand are pleasures for 
evermore ;' and what is goad and of eternal duration, 

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LADY RUSSBLL. 89 

must be joyful above what we can conceive, — as what, is 
evil and of like duration, must be despairingly miserable. 
And now, my dear child, I pray, I beseech you, I con- 
jure you, my loved son, consider what there is of felicity 
in this world, that can compensate the hazard of losing 
an everlasting easy being ; and then deliberately weigh, 
whether or no the delights and gratifications of a vicious 
or idle course of life are such, that a wise or thoughtful 
man would choose or submit to. Again, fancy its enjoy- 
ments at the height imagination can propose or suggest 
(which yet rarely or never happens, or if it does, as a va- 
pour, soon vanishes) ; but let us grant it could, and last 
fourscore years, is this more than the quickest thought 
tQ eternity ? Oh, my child, fix on that word — eternity! 
Old Hobbs, with all his fancied strength of reason, could 
never endure to rest or stay upon that thought, but ran 
from it to some miserable amusement. I remember to 
have read of some man, who, reading in the Bible some- 
thing that checked him, he threw it on the ground,^-tlie 
book fell open, and his eye fixed on the word etemityy 
which so struck upon his mind, that he, from a bad liver, 
became a most holy man. Certainly, nothing beside the 
belief of reward and punishment can make a man truly 
happy in this life, at his death, and after death. Keep 
innocency, and take heed to the thing that is right, for 
that shall bring a man peace at the last — ^peace in the 
evening of each day — peace in the day of death — and 
peace after death. For my own part, I apprehend I 
should not much care (if free from pain) what my portion 
in this world was, if a life to continue, perhaps one year, 
or twenty, or eighty ; but then to be dust, not to know 
or be known any more, — ^this is a thought has something 
of horror in it to me, and always had, and would make 
me careless if it were to be long or short : but to live, to 
die-^to live again, has a joy in it, and how inexpressible 
is that joy if we secure an humble hope to live ever hap- 
pily ; and this we may do, if we take care to live agree- 
ably to our rational faculties, which also best secures 
health, strength, and peace of mind, the greatest bless- 
ings on earth. Believe the Word of God, the Holy 

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90 BIOGBAPHT OF 

Scriptures, the promises and threats contained in them ; 
and what most obstructs our doing so, I am persuaded, is 
fear of punishment. Look up to the firmament and down 
to the deep ; how can any doubt a Divine power ? Then, 
why an infidel in the world ? And if not such, who then 
would hazard a future state for the pleasure of sin a few 
days ? No wise man, and indeed no man that lives and 
would deserve to see good days ; for the laws of God are 
grateful. In his Gospel, the terrors of his majesty are 
laid aside, and he speaks in the still, soft voice of his Son 
incarnate, the fountain and spring whence flow gladness. 
A gloomy and dejected countenance better becomes a 
galley-slave than a Christian, where joy, and love, and 
hope should dwell. The idolatrous heathen performed 
their worship with trouble and terror ; but a Christian, 
and a good liver, with a merry heart and lightsome 
spirit : for examine and consider well, where is the hard- 
ship of a virtuous life ? (when we have moderated our 
irregular habits and passions, and subdued them to the 
obedience of reason and religion.) We are free to all 
the innocent gratifications and delights of life ; and we 
may lawfully, nay further, I say, we ought to rejoice in 
this beautiful world, and all the conveniences and pro- 
visions, even for pleasure, we find in it, and which, in 
much goodness, is afforded us to sweeten and allay the 
labours and troubles incident to this mortal state, nay in- 
separable, I believe, by disappointments, t^ross-accidents, 
bad health, unkind return for good deeds, mistakes even 
among friends, and, what is most touching, death of 
friends. But, in the worst of these calamities, the 
thought of a happy eternity does not alone support, but 
also revive the spirit of man ; and he goeth forth to his 
labour with inward comfort, till the evening of his day, 
(that is, his life on earth,) and, with the Psalmist, cries 
out, * I will consider the heavens, even the work of thy 
fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained. 
What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of 
man that thou shouldst so regard him ? Thou madest 
him lower than the angels, to crown him with glory,' 
Here is matter of praise and gladness. ' The fool,' as 
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LADY RCSSELL. 9i 

the Psalmist expresses it, ' hath said in his heart, there is 
no God.' Or let us consider the man, who is content to 
own an invisible power, yet tries to believe that when 
man has done living on this earth, he lives no more ; but 
I would ask, if any of these unhappy creatures are fully 
persuaded, or that there does not remain in those men, 
at times, (as in sickness or sober thoughtfulness,) sonie 
suspicion or doubt that it may be other than they try to 
think. And although they may, to shun such a thought, 
or be rid of such a contemplation, run away from it to 
some unprofitable diversion, or perhaps suffer themselves 
to be rallied out of such a thought, so destructive to the 
way they walk in ; yet, to be sure, that man does not feel 
the peace and tranquillity he does, who believes a future 
state, and is a good man. For although this good man, 
when his mind may be clouded with some calamity very 
grievous to him, or the disorder of vapours to a melan- 
choly temper, I say, if he is tempted to some suspicion 
than it is possible it may be other than he believes, 
(pray observe), such a surmise or thought, nay the belief, 
cannot drive him to any horror : he fears no evil, because 
he is a good man, and with his life all sorrow ends too, — 
therefore it is not to be denied, he is the wisest man who 
lives by the Scripture rule, and endeavours to keep 
God's laws. First, his mind is in peace and tranquilUty, 
— ^he walks sure who keeps innocence, and takes heed to 
the thing that is right : Secondly, he is secure ; God is 
his friend, that Infinite Being, and he has said, ^ Come 
unto me ye that are heavy laden, my yoke is easy ;' but 
guilt is certainly a heavy load — it sinks and damps the 
spirits. ' A wounded spirit, who can bear I' and the evil 
subtle spirit waits (I am persuaded) to drive the sinner 
to despair ; but godliness makes a cheerful heart. Now, 
O man ! let not past errors discourage. Who lives and 
sins not ? God will judge the obstinate, profane, unre- 
lenting sinner ; but full of compassion to the work of his 
own hand, if they will cease from doing evil and learn to 
do well — ^pray for grace to repent, and endeavour, with 
that measure which will be given, if sincerely asked for ; 
for at what time soever a sinner repents, (but observe 

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92 BIOGRAPHY OV 

this is no license to sin, because at an3^ time we may re- 
pent,) for that day we may not live to see ; and so, like 
the fool in the parable, our lamps be untrimmed when 
we are called upon. Remember, that to forsake vice is 
the beginning of virtue ; and virtue certainly is most con- 
ducive to content of mind and a cheerful spirit. He 
(the virtuous man) rejoiceth with a friend in the good 
things he enjoys,---bears not the reproaches of any, — no 
evil spirit can approach to hurt him here, or accuse him 
in the great day of the Lord, when every soul shall be 
•judged according as they have done good or evil. O 
blessed state I fit for life, fit for death! In this good 
state I wish and pray for all mankind ; but most parti- 
cularly, and with all the ardour I am capable of, for those 
I have brought into the world, and those dear to them. 
Thus are my fervent and frequent prayers directed — that 
you may die the death of the righteous, and, to this end, 
that Almighty God would endue you all with spiritual 
wisdom to discern what is pleasing in his sight." 

Now that Lady Russell saw her beloved son establish- 
ed in all the honours of his family, happy in the wife she 
had chosen for him, and the father of several children, it 
seemed as if her sorrows were well nigh over. But she 
was doomed to suffer yet more in her strongest affections. 
Neither inoculation nor vaccine were known in those 
times ; the Duke of Bedford caught the small-pox natur- 
ally, and died May 26, 171 19 iu the 31st year of his age. 
He left three sons and two daughters. His wife was 
obliged to fly from him, for the safety of her children ; 
but his aged mother was at his bed-side, soothing his last 
moments, and pointing his thoughts to heaven. A short 
time after this afflicting event, she thus writes to her 
cousin Rouvigny, Earl of Gralway : — 

" Alas ! my dear Lord Galway, my thoughts are yet 
all disorder, confusion, and amazement ; and I think I am 
very incapable of saying or doing what I should. I did 
not know the greatness of my love to his person, till I 
could see it no more. When nature, who will be mis- 
tress, has in some measure, with time, relieved herself, 
then, and not till then, I trust the goodness, which hath 
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LADY RUSSELL. 93 

no bounds, and whose power is irresistible, will assist me 
by his grace, to rest contented with wlpit his unerring 
Providence has appointed and permitted. And I shall 
feel ease in this contemplation, that there was nothing un- 
comfortable in his death, but the losing him. His God 
was, I verily believe, ever in his thoughts ; towards his 
last hours he called upon him, and complained that he 
could not pray his prayers. To what I answered, he 
said, he wished for more time to make up his accounts 
with God. Then with remembrance to his sisters, and 
telling me how good and kind his wife had been to him, 
and that he should have been glad to have expressed him- 
self to her ; said something to me, and my double kind- 
ness to his wife ; and so died away, there seemed no re- 
luctancy to leave this world, patient and easy the whole 
time, and I believe knew his danger, but loath to grieve 
those by him, delayed what he might have said. But 
why all this ? The decree is past. I do not ask your 
prayers ; I know you offer them with sincerity to our 
Almighty God for your afflicted kinswoman, 

« R. Russell." 

FROM BISHOP BURNET TO LADV RUSSELL. 

SalMuTyy May 30, 1711. 
** I cannot keep myself from writing, though I cannot 
tell how to express the deep sense I have of this new 
heavy stroke, with which God is trying your faith and 
patience. To lose the only son of such a father, who 
was become so truly his son in all respects, is, indeed, 
anew opening a deep wound, which God had, by many 
special providences, for several years, been binding up 
and healing. But now you will see whether you can truly 
say, * not my will, but thy will be done.' For God's 
sake, do not abandon yourself once more into a deep, 
inconsolable melancholy ; rouse up the spirit God has 
given you, and say, < The Lord has given, the Lord has 
taken ; blessed be the name of the Lord.' When God 
took his blessed father, he was left as a branch to spring 
up in his stead : now God has taken him ; but th« branches 

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94 BIOGRAPHY OF 

are left in whom he is to live again. Remember you are 
now much old^ than when you suffered yourself to sink 
so much under a great, though a just load. You cannot 
now stand under what you bore then : and you do not 
know but that, as God has helped you in so eminent a 
manner to do your duty to your own children, he may 
yet have a great deal for you to do to your children's child- 
ren ; and therefore study to compose your spirits into a re- 
signation to the holy will of God, and see what remains 
for you yet to be done, before your course is finished. 
I could' not help giving this vent to that true and hearty 
concern I have in every thing that touches you in so ten- 
der a part. I can do no more but follow this with my 
most earnest prayers to the God of all comfort, for you 
and all yours, more particularly for the sweet remnants 
of him, whom God has taken to himself. 

*^ I am, beyond all expression, madam, kc/* 

Lady Russell was destined to survive nearly all whom 
she had loved most dearly. In the November following, 
her younger daughter, the Duchess of Rutland, after 
having been the mother of nine children, died in child- 
bed. No letters from her mother, concerning this event, 
are preserved. But even at this advanced age, and tried 
as she had been with so many and recent afflictions. Lady 
Russell gave another remarkable proof of her power of 
commanding her own feelings for the good of others. 
Her elder daughter, the Dudiess of Devonshire, was at 
the same time in a situation similar to that which had 
cost her sister's life. When she anxiously inquired con- 
cerning the health of the Duchess of Rutland, her strong- 
hearted mother, anxious to avoid the consequences that 
might result from her hearing the tidings too suddenly, 
calmly replied, " I have seen your sister out of her bed 
to-day," — when, in fact, she was in her coffin. 

Within a very few months after the death of Lady 
Russell's daughter, the Duke of Rutland married again^ 
This circumstance must have been painful to the sensitive 
mother ; but like all other trials, it only served to bring 
out new beauties in a character, that seems to have been 
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LADY RUSSELL. 95 

as nearly perfect as our nature is capable of being. The 
following letter shows how indulgent she was to the feel- 
ings and weaknesses of others. 

LADY RUSSELL TO THE EARL OF 6ALWAY. 

" My Lord, — I have been for some weeks often re- 
solved, and as soon unresolved, if I would or would not 
engage upon a subject I cannot speak to without some 
emotion ; but I cannot suffer your being a stranger to any 
that very near concerns me. Yet before I could dispose 
myself to do it, concluded the article not a secret to you, 
such care having by one side been taken, as to let it be a 
visiting day affair, whether or not the Duke of Rutland 
had not fixed a second choice ? Perhaps as proper to 
call it the first ; for when marriages are so ver^' early, it 
is accepting rather than choosing, on either side. But 
Lord Kutland, to the end of my good child's life, has so 
well approved of the choice, in all and every respect, and 
now that she is no more, has, with very deliberate consi- 
deration, as soon as he composed his mind to think, first 
taken care to inquire, and be truly informed what powers 
he had to do for his children ; and then, by the strictest 
rules of justice and impartial kindness, settled every 
younger child's portion, by adding to what they had be- 
fore. As it is to me the most solid instance of his respect 
and love he can now give to her memory, and being, I 
believe it, done with an honest sincerity, and true value 
of her, and all her virtues, I conceive it would be wrong 
in me to take offence at some circumstances the censo- 
rious part of the town will be sure to do, and refine upon 
for the sake of talk. I miss the hearing by seeing few, 
and not answering questions. 

" The first notice I had of his intention was by Mr. 
Charlton, and I really believed that was, as soon as he 
had given himself his own consent. He told me he 
found him under great unquietness, when he acquainted 
him with his thoughts, who said, he was under all the 
anxieties a man could feel how to break it to me, though 
it was then but a thought of his own, yet so much he 
would not conceal from me. Mr. Charlton undertook to 

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96 BIOGRAPHY OF 

tell me, and I did as soon resolve to let it pass, as easy 
between him and me, as I could, by bidding Mr. Charl- 
ton let him know I would begin to him. I did so, which 
put us both in some disorder, but I believe he took, as, I 
meant it, kindly. A decency in time was all I expected.** 

In 1718, she writes, "My very long acquaintance. 
Lady Essex, is no longer of this world ; but not to be 
lamented in relation to herself, being certainly sincerely 
devout, in those points we oi^ht to make our biggest 
care." Lady Russell was now eighty-two years old ; and 
many of her cotemporaries, as well as many a one whose 
course had begun long alter hers, had gone away rapidly, 
one after another, and left her almost alone in this vale 
of tears* Yet we find her to the last, keeping up a con- 
stant and affectionate intercourse with her daughter, her 
grandchildren, her nieces, and her friends. She was in- 
terested in their happiness, sympathized with their sor- 
rows, and her advice was always sought for, when difficul- 
ties of any kind arose. Indeed the conscientious Lady 
Russell seems herself to have been the only one in the 
world who ever discovered that she had any faults. 

The following charges against herself were found 
among her papers. 

'• Vanity cleaves to me, I fear, O Lord ! in all I aay, 
in all I do. In all I suffer, proud, not enduring to slights 
and neglects, subject to envy the good parts of others, 
even as to worldly gifts. Failing in my duty to my su- 
periors ; apt to be soon angry with, and without cause too 
often ; and by it may have girieved those that desired to 
please me, or provoked others to sin by my rash anger. 
Not ready to own any advantage I may have received by- 
good advice or example. Not well satisfied if I have not 
all the respect I expected, even firom my superiors. 
Such has been the pride of iny naught heart, I fear, and 
also neglect in my performances due to my superiors, 
children, friends, or servants. I heartily lament my sin. 
But, alas ! in my most dear husband's troubles, seeking 
help from man, but finding none. His life was taken 
away, and so sorely was my spirit wounded, even without 
prospect of future comfort and consolation — ^the more 
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LADY RUSSELL. 97 

faulty in me, having three dear children to perform my 
dnty to, with thankfulness for such a blessing left me, 
under so heavy a dispensation as I felt the loss of him to 
be. But, alas ! how feeble did I find myself both then, 
and also poorly prepared to bear the loss of my dear 
child and only son, in 17 H. 

*< If I carry my sorrow to the grave, O Lord, in much 
mercy let it not be imputed as sin in me ! His death 
was a piercii^ sorrow to roe, yet thou hast supported me, 
Lord! even in a very old age, and freer from bodily pam 
and sickness than most feei — I desire thankfully to recol- 
lect. Alas I from my childhood I can recoUect a back- 
wardaees to pray, and coldness when I did, and ready to 
take or seek cause to be absent at the public ones. 
Bven after a sharp sickness and danger at Chelsea, spend- 
ing my time childishly, if not idly ; and if I had read a 
few tines in a pious book, contented I had done well. 
Yet, at the same time, ready to give ear to reports, and 
posEably to malicious ones, and telling my mother-in-law 
to please her. At seventeen years of age was married ; 
cootmued too often being i^sent at the public prayers, 
taking v«ry slight causes to be so, liking too well the es- - 
teemed diversions of the town, as the Park, visrting, 
plays, and trifling away my precious time. At our return 
to London^ I can recollect that I would choose upon a 
Sooday to go. to church at Lord B's., where the serman 
woidd be short, a great dinner, and after, worldly taH^ ; 
when, at my father's, the sermon was longer, and dis- 
course more edifying. And too much after the same 
way, I much fear, at my several returns to Wales and 
England. In the year 1665, was brought to bed of my 
first child ; with him too indulging I fear to get strength 
soon, and spend my time as before, much with my loved 
sisters ; I doubt not heedful, or not enough so, my ser- 
vants went to church, if I did, or did not go myself. 

" Some time after in London, and then with my fa- 
ther's wife at Tunbridge, and after with her at Bath, 
gave too much of my time to carelesdy indulging in 
idleness. At Bath, too well contented to follow the 
common way of passing the time in diversion^, and think- 

VOL. III. NO. XXI. Y 309 

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98 BIOGRAPHTy &C. 

ing but little what was serious ; consideriiig more health 
of j>ody, than that of my souL Forgive my heaviness 
and sloth in spirituals, for Christ Jesus' sake. 

^' After this, I must still accuse myself that sometimes 
in Wales, and other times in England, my care in good 
has not suited to my duty, not with the active and devout 
heart and mind I should in the evening have praised 
thee, my God, for the mercies of the past day, and re- 
collected my evil doings, or omissions of doii^ good in 
my power. Not in the morning carefully fixing my will 
and purpose to pass the day pleasing in thy sight, and 
giving good example to man, particularly such as under 
my care ; more especially after my second marriage, for- 
getting by whose blessing I was so happy, consuming too 
much time with him." » * * * 

\The end wanHngJ] 

Lady Russell, alter a few days' illness, during which 
she was attended by the Duchess of Devonshire, died 
September 29th, 1723, in her 87th year. She survived 
her beloved husband forty years — a weary pilgrimage for 
one whose heart was ever with him. Blessed be God, 
we believe in a heavenly home, where her pure and quiet 
spirit has gone to enjoy an eternal union. 

" In the history of her country, her name will ever be 
embalmed with her Lord's, while passive courage, devoted 
tenderness, and unblemished purity are honoured in one 
se'-' or public patriotism, private virtues, and unshaken 
pr. iciples revered in the otner." 



NOTE. 

LIST OF BOOKS REFERRED TO. 

Lady Russeirs Letters, from originals belonging to the Duke of 
Devonshire ; with some account of her Life. 

Lady Russell's Letters, from originals in the possession of tb« 
Duke of Bedford, with minutes of Lord Russell's Trial. 

Hume's History of England. 

Burnet's History of his Own Times. 

La Biographie Universelle. 

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